Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Applied Economics

Committee Chair(s)

Jay C. Andersen


Jay C. Andersen


B. Delworth Gardner


Economic efficiency criteria are used to optimally allocate irrigation water in a closed river basin (Sevier River). The Basin is geographically divided into four subbasins. Liner programming model were developed for each of the four areas and used to generate value of marginal product schedules by parametric variation of water during the late irrigation season (after July 1). Differences in value of marginal product for average annual water deliveries were indications of a malallocation of late season water. A reallocation involving 28 percent of the restraining input (water) would increase net farm incomes (returns to capital, labor, and management) an estimated 10 percent.

All water diverted to cropland, however, is not used consumptively by crops, but finds its way back to the river bia return flows and is available for rediversion downstream. Total consumptive use is a function of the number of times return flow from an initial acre foot of diversion can be rediverted. This assumes, a priori, an allocation should be based on a net stream depletion concept where consumptive use values for water are used. To accomplish this requires an economic-cum-hydrologic model which takes into account the physical response by crops to different amounts of water application and consumptive use plus the timing and amounts of water available during the hydrologic cycle.

Conservation practices that increase farm efficiency--increase the amount of consumptive use from a given diversion or water right--will reduce return flows and affect the "tenure" and "security" of downstream water rights.

The results of this study conclude that an allocation based on consumptive use water values rather than value of marginal products for river diversions is superior. Likewise , values based on consumptive use provided a more logical comparison of water values in its many uses.



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