Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2020CA293B

Groundwater Regulation and Land Fallowing: How Does Water Salinity Impact Land Use?

Institute: California
Year Established: 2020 Start Date: 2020-03-01 End Date: 2021-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $15,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $18,343

Principal Investigators: Dr. Ellen M. Bruno

Abstract: Agricultural groundwater reductions will be critical to reaching groundwater sustainability in California and abroad. However, too much land fallowing will be harmful to the farm economy and could threaten California’s stature as the nation’s leading agricultural state. This paper considers the impacts of water scarcity on land use to better understand how groundwater regulation in California will drive land out of production. We will first develop a simple analytical framework to investigate the impact of groundwater policies on land use. Then, with spatial data of groundwater extraction, prices and land use at the farm-level, we will estimate the impact of water prices and water quality on irrigated acreage. Both water prices and water quality as expected to change as a result of groundwater regulation. The goal of this research is to understand how groundwater overdraft, and regulations to correct overdraft will impact agriculture. By improving our understanding of the drivers of land use, these results will have implications for water management agencies.