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Environmental and Natural Resource Economics


We introduce a model that incorporates two important elements to estimating welfare gains from groundwater management: stochasticity and a spatial stock externality. We estimate welfare gains resulting from optimal management under uncertainty as well as a gradual stock externality that produces the dynamics of a large aquifer being slowly exhausted. This groundwater model imposes an important aspect of a depletable natural resource without the extreme assumption of complete exhaustion that is necessary in a traditional single cell (bathtub) model of groundwater extraction. Using dynamic programming, we incorporate and compare stochasticity for both an independent and identically distributed as well as a Markov chain process for annual rainfall. We find that the spatial depletion of the aquifer is significant to welfare gains for a parameterization of a section of the Ogallala Aquifer in Kansas, ranging from 2.9% to 3.01%, which is larger than those found previously over the region. Surprisingly, the inclusion of stochasticity in rainfall increases welfare gains only slightly.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication 1.0 License.