Regional Economic Impacts of a Land Fallowing Program?The Palo Verde Test Land Fallowing Program Case Study

by Fadi Z. Kamand,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: North American Water and Environment Congress & Destructive Water


The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) and the Palo Verde Irrigation District (PVID) implemented a two-year test land fallowing program (Program) from August 1, 1992 through July 31, 1994. Under the Program, 20,215 acres of agricultural farm land in PVID were fallowed for two years saving approximately 186,000 acre-feet of Colorado River water. The saved water is being stored in Lake Mead for use by MWD prior to the year 2000. MWD compensated participating farmers $620 per fallowed acre per year which equates to $135 per acre-foot of water saved. Four surveys were conducted in the Palo Verde Valley during and after the Program to evaluate the economic impacts from the Program on the participating farmers and the community at large. Principal findings indicated that the Program did not affect the overall regional economic performance in the Palo Verde Valley to any significant degree. Although the Program did not cause non-farm-related businesses in the region to reduce employment or lose revenue, it contributed to the loss of 27 full-time farm jobs, and 25 full-time and 7 part.time jobs in farm.related businesses. The combined losses were equal to approximately 1.3 percent of the region's average employment for 1991-92. Not including fallowing costs, participating farmers spent 93 percent of Program payments toward farm improvements and operations, debt payment, and rent during the two-year period. Evaluation of the benefit to the local economy from these payments was beyond the scope of the surveys conducted. Overall, the Program was well received by the farmers and various community representatives. Further details relating to the Program and its regional economic impacts are presented.

Subject Headings: Agriculture | Economic factors | Water conservation | Payment | Irrigation water | Irrigation districts | Impact tests | California | United States | Colorado River

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