Agricultural Economics Department


Date of this Version



Published by the Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Copyright 2009 Regents of the University of Nebraska.


Irrigators in the Republican Basin and in parts of the North Platte Basin must learn to incorporate multiple year drought risk into their management plans, as they adapt to the limitations imposed by five-year pumping allocations. A major concern involves the implications of being water-short during the later years of the allocation period, because of an accumulative rainfall shortage or drought. Currently, producers can either ignore the risk of substantially lower incomes if their allocation is exhausted too soon, or reduce the risk by using less water early in the allocation period. The latter approach, however, may substantially reduce the present value of total net income over the five-year period. Alternatively, in the future it may be possible to use weather derivatives to manage income risk.