Annual well-level groundwater use records and characteristics for portions of Nebraska and Colorado

Published: 21 August 2019| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/2csdvyry9t.1
Contributors:
Taro Mieno,
Aaron Hrozencik,
Jordan Suter,
Mani Rouhi Rad

Description

The data contain annual observations of groundwater pumping volumes, irrigated acres, energy use, marginal pumping cost, energy use efficiency, pumping hours, well yield, growing season precipitation, and growing season evapotranspiration for wells located in southwest Nebraska and northwest Colorado. Each observation represents an individual well in a specific year. Nebraska Data: Groundwater pumping (acre-feet), irrigated acres, pumping hours, and energy use (kwh) data are downloaded from the RRCA website (http://www.republicanrivercompact.org/). Energy use efficiency (kwh/acre-inch), pumping cost ($/acre-inch), and well yield (gallons per minute) were then calculated based on the groundwater and energy use data. The original daily weather data used to calculate growing season (June through September) precipitation (inches) and evapotranspiration (inches) are obtained from Daymet (https://daymet.ornl.gov/). Colorado Data: Annual groundwater pumping (acre-feet), well yield, and water-energy use conversion factors are available at the well-level via the Colorado Decisions Support System (https://dwr.state.co.us/Tools/Structures). The original daily weather data used to calculate growing season (June through September) precipitation and evapotranspiration are obtained from Daymet (https://daymet.ornl.gov/). This data is unique in that well yield is observed or can be inferred. Well yield is a variable that has not been observed at the well level with accuracy in other groundwater use data. Using this unique data, we sought to answer the following two main questions: Research hypothesis 1: Ignoring (omitting) well yield leads to biased estimation of the impact of pumping costs on groundwater demand (price elasticity of demand for groundwater). Research hypothesis 2: Well yield is a key determinant of annual groundwater use volumes for agricultural production We found that ignoring (omitting) well yield severely over-estimates the importance of pumping costs in groundwater demand regression analysis. This indicates that water pricing may be much less effective as a tool to conserve water than previously considered. Finally, we found well yield is a much more influential determinant of groundwater use compared to pumping cost. These general results are consistent for Nebraska and Colorado.

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Steps to reproduce

Steps to reproduce the results can be found at the beginning of the Replication.html file.