Agricultural Economics Department


Date of this Version



Garcia-Suarez, F., L. Fulginiti, and R. Perrin. 2019. “What is the use value of irrigation water from the High Plains Aquifer.” American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 101(2): 455-466.


This study provides an estimate of the gross value of irrigation water from the U.S. High Plains

Aquifer. We estimate a yield function for aggregated crop biomass production, based on countylevel

observations for 1960–2007. This study found that irrigation increases total biomass yield in this

region by an average of 51%. We estimate the average gross annual value of irrigation as of 2007 to

be $196 per acre, for a total of about $3 billion across the aquifer. We also estimate that on average

across the aquifer, exposure to 24 hours of temperatures above 33C (one degree day) reduces biomass

yield by 3%, with a value in 2007 of about $10 per acre.