Abstract Non-sustainable groundwater withdrawals are relied upon in central Arizona to meet present agricultural and municipal water needs. While non-renewable groundwater may provide low cost, reliable supplies in the short-term, continuing groundwater depletion will impact both cost and availability of future sillies. Alternative policies (including approaches to use of the Central Arizona Project (CAP), a renewable but relatively costly surface water alternative) for preservation of groundwater stocks are considered. A quantitative approach is pursued through use of a hydrologiceconomic model of Arizona surface and groundwater resources and water users. The model is run using a one-year time step for 50 years using present population growth projections for Arizona and typical hydrologic conditions.
Policies which reduce energy price subsidies (but do not include market transfers of water) were found to eliminate most groundwater overdraft after 50 years. Implementation of water use goals set under Arizona's 1980 Groundwater Management Act would be twice as costly while resulting in a greater depletion of groundwater stocks. CAP water can maintain agricultural acreage and income while minimizing groundwater depletion, but its use must be heavily subsidized by non-agricultural users.
KEY TERMS: groundwater; water use; Arizona; economic impacts.
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