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Dissolved salts (salinity) adversely affect numerous urban and agriculatural users of Colorado River water in California and Arizona. Congress in 1974 authorized a major salinity control program. Studies of general economic benefits from salinity abatement and the cost per unit of salinity reduction expected from specific proposed projects have been developed by the responsible federal agencies, but no project-by-project evaluation has been published. We find a conceptual basis for a substantial downward revision of prospective economic benefits of salinity abatement. Revised benefits are compared with estimated costs, and only for five of the nineteen projects do economic benefits appear to exceed costs. Published...
A mathematical programming model is formulated to determine the salinity impacts of energy development in the Upper Colorado River Basin. Using this model, the costs and benefits to Upper and Lower Basins in complying with the 1974 EPA regulations on numerical salinity standards are examined. Optimal water quality levels consistent with economic criteria are established for projected energy growth in the basin. The efficiency costs and equity implications of the salinity regulations are analyzed. Published in Western Journal of Agricultural Economics, volume 4, issue 2, on pages 73 - 82, in 1979.
Variability in water supplies is perceived as a major impediment to economic growth in both agricultural and energy sectors in the Intermountain West. A chance-constrained programming model of water allocations among agricultural, energy, municipal and industrial, and environmental activities for the Upper Colorado River Basin and the Great Basin in Utah was developed to analyze economically optimal water use as energy production increases. Estimates of the probabilities of various amounts of water production, representing different drought conditions, were used as right-hand sides in the model. Results indicate that water is not a constraining factor and that little, if any, water development is warranted, even...