Task 1 Research
Principal Investigator(s): Ron Lacewell, Ed Rister, Allen Sturdivant, Luis Ribera, Emily Seawright, Chris Boyer, Shauna Yow and Andrew Leidner
Task 1: Irrigation District Studies
- Continue to collaborate with the USDA-ARS (Agricultural Research Service) and Dr. Georgianne Moore (AgriLife Research) to analyze and report on the economics of a potentially-beneficial pest-management program for controlling giant cane (Arundo donax). The primary benefit of controlling/reducing Arundo lies in capturing some of the water currently consumed by Arundo, which by using preliminary data of 60,000 acres and a literature-based consumption amount of 3.80 to 5.00 acre-feet per acre translates into a range of 228,000 acre-feet to 300,000 acre-feet of water per year. Accounting for 1) water intake by replacement plant species, 2) conveyance system losses, and 3) a less-than-100% effectiveness of the beneficial pest-management program will necessarily provide for actual net water savings being less than this range. Continuation of this work will better refine the estimate of water savings, and will also provide for a range in the economic and financial annual gross-benefits of the program. This item is a continuation of prior years' efforts. Currently, this task item is approximately 65% complete. It is anticipated FY 2008 funding will complete this item.
- Continue the development and improve the application of VIDRA© (Valley Irrigation District Rate Analyzer) to requesting irrigation districts (IDs). Direct water savings from this work are difficult to measure - for example, VIDRA© shows the District's profit or loss of water delivery to various client types (e.g., agricultural, municipal). In situations where an ID agricultural irrigation rate is too low and causing a financial loss, the likely subsequent rate increase can act to reduce water use through 1) reduced application, 2) reduced acreage, or 3) adoption of other conservation-oriented water-application techniques. Furthermore, the robust results highlight conveyance losses, pumping costs, and much other data. That is, managers can "see" the financial costs of losing water; both in terms of the amount of lost sales revenue and the costs of pumping water which then gets lost. This program/information indirectly stresses the need to ID managers for conservation within the District, and capital investment analyses to insure water-conservation and rehabilitation projects make economic sense. This item is a continuation of prior years' efforts. Last year, this item went from about 75% complete, to the current 85-90% complete with the development and/or improvement of VIDRA© for 3 irrigation districts (HCID #16, United ID, and HCID #2). Efforts remain to develop a customized version for CCID #2, and provide version updates/improvements for DLID and HCID #1. It is anticipated FY 2008 funding will complete this item.
- Complete analyses and writings of life-cycle costs for two different conventional surface-water treatment facilities in Texas using CITY H2O ECONOMICS©. Water savings, per se are not directly provided by this work. However, the combined effective treatment level of these two facilities is slightly over 8 million gallons per day, or 9,115 acre-feet per year; i.e., "new" potable water which heretofore has not been provided in the Rio Grande Valley. This item is a continuation of prior years' efforts and is estimated to be 95% complete. Analyses for both the McAllen Northwest facility (MPU) and the Olmito-based facility (OWSC) are done. All that remains is to complete the writings on these facilities and the CITY H2O ECONOMICS© model. It is anticipated FY 2008 funding will complete this item.
- Complete analyses for the USBR and ID managers on capital rehabilitation projects using RGIDECON©. Rehabilitation projects of ID leaking canals and pipelines, and inefficient pumping facilities analyzed under this work are estimated to save 61,275 acre-feet of water per year. This item is a continuation of prior years' efforts and is estimated to be 98% complete. All that remains is to complete analyses and writings of mini-reports for water-delivery infrastructure rehabilitation projects for HIDCC #1 and CCID #2 using actual construction costs (i.e., vs estimates). It is anticipated FY 2008 funding will complete this item.
- Present two contributed papers at the University Council of Water Resources (UCOWR) Annual Conference in Durham, NC. Reporting on "Economics of potable water alternatives along an international boundary" and "Biological control of giant reed along the Rio Grande: An international boundary." Refer to item numbers 3 and 1, respectively for comments regarding quantity of water savings.
- Submit an journal article to the American Journal of Agricultural Economics entitled "Economic Implications of Conventional Water Treatment Versus Desalination including an Examination of Economies of Size and Elasticities: Applications to South Texas" (tentative). Water savings, per se are not directly provided by this work. However, the combined effective treatment and production level of the four subject facilities is slightly over 14 million gallons per day, or 15,682 acre-feet per year; i.e., "new" potable water which until recent years has not been provided in the Rio Grande Valley.