Towards a better understanding of the impacts of climate change on agricultural productivity and economics in the Walker River Basin

Monday, 15 December 2014
Cassandra J Wilson1, Douglas P Boyle2, Christopher Garner2 and Scott Bassett1, (1)University of Nevada Reno, Reno, NV, United States, (2)University of Nevada, Reno, Reno, NV, United States
A significant decrease in seasonal precipitation and a general increase in air temperature over the last three years have resulted in extreme to exceptional drought conditions in much of the southwestern U.S., where water resources are becoming scarcer. In many cases, the impacts of the drought on the agricultural productivity has been severe, as farmers have struggled to maintain the crop water requirements with limited resources available from surface water deliveries and groundwater pumping. In this study, we aim to identify the impacts of climate change on agricultural productivity in the Walker River Basin. In order to develop a better understand of the regional agricultural economic impacts and potential mitigation strategies, we quantify the value of surface water along with supplemental groundwater pumping. Specifically, we analyze changes in potential crop production (both quantity and revenue) and the associated conjunctive use of available surface water and groundwater in both dry and warm climates.