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Resources 2013, 2(3), 286-302; doi:10.3390/resources2030286

An Estimation of the Private Value of Aquifer Recharge from Ephemeral Wetlands on the Texas High Plains

*  and
Agricultural and Applied Economics, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX 79410, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 19 June 2013 / Revised: 6 August 2013 / Accepted: 16 August 2013 / Published: 22 August 2013
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Ecosystem services are benefits people derive from resources in ecosystems. Playa lakes in the Southern High Plains region of North America provide several ecosystem services for humans, including recharge to the Ogallala aquifer. The Ogallala aquifer occupies 450,000 km2, it is part of eight states, and provides irrigation water to over 25% of the irrigated land in the United States. The recharge provided by playas potentially makes them important and valuable in this region. We develop an econometric model (with spatial aspects) to determine how playas affect the water level of irrigation wells and estimate the economic value to farmers of playa ecosystem services in recharging the water in those wells. We find that, in some instances, additional playa surface area may have a small but statistically significant effect on well drawdown (and, we infer, on recharge) on nearby wells, but that the value of the additional water is likely too small to significantly affect private management decisions. Because of lack of appropriate data, these results are of only limited applicability. We therefore identify a need for more research on the effects of management of sedimentation of playa wetlands as a key component that may improve the findings reported here.
Keywords: ecosystem services; playa lakes; aquifer recharge ecosystem services; playa lakes; aquifer recharge
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Bian, D.; Benson, A.; Williams, R.B. An Estimation of the Private Value of Aquifer Recharge from Ephemeral Wetlands on the Texas High Plains. Resources 2013, 2, 286-302.

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