Optimal Irrigation Planning for Drought Management in Lower Colorado River Basin

by Quentin W. Martin, Lower Colorado River Authority, Austin, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Water Resources Planning and Management and Urban Water Resources


The Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) of Texas recently completed a Drought Management Plan (DMP) for the water supplies under its control. In developing that plan, the LCRA evaluated alternative farm cropping and water supply allocation policies to maximize the beneficial use of stored water to support rice production on over 90,000 acres in four major irrigation districts located on the Texas Gulf Coast. The problem of maximizing the net income of the rice producers is solved by determining the acres to cultivate in first and second rice crops in each of four major irrigation districts when supplies of stored water are limited. The irrigation planting problem is formulated as a mixed integer linear programming (MILP) problem. The MILP problem is solved for a range of discrete values for stored water available during the growing season to create a decision table for each irrigation district. These tables are then incorporated into a stream and reservoir hydrologic model of the lower Colorado River to simulate the impacts of alternative drought management policies.

Subject Headings: Water storage | Irrigation | Droughts | Rivers and streams | Basins | Water policy | Hydrologic models | Water resources | Colorado River | Texas | United States

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