Agriculture, water, and institutions: Investigation of water management, policy and its effects on sustainable water use by agriculture in AZ.

Project: Research project

Project Details


The objective of this project is to evaluate the consequences of the 1980 Groundwater Management Act for agricultural water conservation and the present-day viability of farming in the central Arizona desert. This project concerns the institutional and policy context in which farmers in Arizonasmanaged groundwater areas (called Active Management Areas, or AMAs) make decisions about water use. As demand rises for water in Central Arizona, examining the rules pertaining to groundwater management allows for better insight to the incentives that either promote or impede sustainable water use in irrigated agriculture. Although obvious restrictions were placed on irrigated agriculture with the passage of the GMA, such as a flat-out prohibition of its expansion in the five AMAs, preliminary research findings from a literature review of the GMA by this author suggest that the law might actually be buffering farmers from water stress, and, contrary to its original intention, encouraging them to maintain land in agricultural production, sometimes under unsustainable water use practices. The project will provide an initial policy recommendation on how current water policy might be revised to enhance all dimensions of agricultural sustainability in the Phoenix AMA, and will provide valuable input for the 4th management plan of the GMA. As a new management plan is adopted every 10 years, the proposed research is important to understanding why some farmers adopt sustainable water use practices and why others do not. Determining what factors encourage the conservation of water on irrigated farmland in the Phoenix AMA would be an invaluable contribution to better water management, and one step closer towards reaching the goals of sustainable agriculture.t
Effective start/end date7/1/098/31/11


  • USDA-NIFA: Cooperative State Research, Education & Extension Services (CSREES): $8,795.00


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