Ogallala aquifer depletion: Economic impact on the Texas high plains

Bonnie L. Terrell, Phillip N. Johnson, Eduardo Segarra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


The impacts of the depletion of the Ogallala aquifer on the economy of the Southern High Plains of Texas were estimated by predicting future cropping patterns over a 30-year time horizon as the saturated thickness of the aquifer declines. Increased adoption of sprinkler irrigation methods, increased cotton acreage, and a shift to dryland production were the main responses found to declining water availability in the region. As the Ogallala aquifer is depleted, the region could experience a downturn in agricultural production with possible negative impacts on the regional economy assuming no other offsetting exogenous shocks to the economy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-46
Number of pages14
JournalWater Policy
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002


  • Depletion
  • Dynamic programming
  • Economic impacts
  • Ogallala aquifer


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