Water Management Practices: Use Patterns, Related Factors and Correlations with Irrigated Acres

Yefan Nian, Qiuqiong Huang, Ken Kovacs, Christopher Henry, Jason Krutz


This study describes the water management practice (WMP) use patterns by producers in Arkansas, USA, identifies the factors related to producers’ choices among WMP groups, and examines the correlations between WMP uses and irrigated acreage. Using data from the 2016 Arkansas Irrigation Survey, WMPs are divided into four groups: field management, water flow control, water recovery/storage, and advanced irrigation scheduling practices. We find that about 77% of producers in the study area use two or more groups of WMPs to manage multiple aspects of irrigation, but that the factors that are associated with choices of WMPs vary by WMP group. Regression results show that the use of water flow meters, providing producers with education on the looming groundwater shortage problems and awareness of financial assistance available for conservation efforts, such as the state tax credits program, and use of WMPs by family members, friends, and neighbors are associated with increased use of WMPs. However, we find that producers that are older, have smaller farms, and rely more on groundwater are less likely to use some of the WMPs. Regression results also show that using water flow meters positively correlates with total irrigated acres, irrigated acres in rice, and irrigated acres in soybeans, and that for soybeans using more groups of WMPs is associated with a reduced extent of irrigated acreage. This study contributes to the small economics literature on WMPs and provides a more comprehensive picture of how producers use different WMPs to manage irrigation.

In Water Resources Research, 2020, 56: e2019WR025360.
Yefan Nian
Yefan Nian
Ph.D. Student

I am a PhD student in economics. It does not mean that the only thing I care about is money, I care about a lot of things that non-economists care about. I just see them in a unique economical way. I am also a Chinese, which is not to say I only care about China, I am just born this way.