Agricultural Economics Department


Date of this Version

August 2006


Analysis was conducted as a public service for the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources. Used by permission.


The potential costs to irrigators, the state economy and the state budget were estimated for different methods of reducing consumptive use (CU) of irrigation water in the Platte and Republican Basins. The policy methods considered included: leased retirement of irrigated land using a willing buyer-willing seller approach; required land retirement with lease payments equal to actual producer losses; retirement of irrigated land by purchasing water rights using a willing buyer-willing seller approach; forced retirement of irrigated land with the purchase price equal to actual market value; allocation with 100 percent producer compensation; and allocation with 50 percent producer compensation. Both long and short-term programs were considered with the reduced consumptive use occurring at different locations within each basin. The analysis assumes that CU must be reduced by 75,000 acre-feet in the Platte Basin west of Elm Creek, and by 100,000 acre-feet in the Republican Basin.