Social well-being is an accepted subset of water investment feasibility criteria. Our attempt is to isolate income redistribution impacts conferred by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation projects. Four project sites have been utilized to yield both pre and post project estimates of farm income and wealth. Production functions of the Cobb-Douglas type were estimated to yield information about factor shares, and thus enable inferences to be made about distribution of total product. Lorenz curves were developed to show changes in distribution of wealth and net income in terms of family enterprise, per acre, and per irrigated acre. Listing of individual farmers income and wealth measures are included to show movements (from-to) from pre to post project time periods. Results tend to confirm the hypothesis that larger farmers (in terms of acreage) tend to benefit in absolute terms more than smaller farmers; however, relative changes (measured in terms of per irrigated acre) show the small farmer benefits from a project more than does the large farmer. Over 80 percent of the farm families studied shifted into higher or lower income categories (50 percent up, 50 percent down) following project implementation. About 80 percent of the farm families in the sample changed positions (75 percent up, 25 percent down) in terms of the wealth measures.
This work made publicly available electronically on May 17, 2012.