Tradeoffs associated with increasing water yield from the Edwards Plateau, Texas: balancing private costs and public benefits
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The Edwards Aquifer supplies water to approximately 2 million people in central Texas and is recharged by rangelands on the Edwards Plateau, Texas. Since water yields increase from rangelands when brush is controlled, citizens of the region have a vested interest in the management of rangeland vegetation. In 1985 legislation was passed which recognized the relationship between reducing brush and increasing water yields, and encouraged brush control on private ranches to increase stream and aquifer recharge. No funds were appropriated to implement the legislation, due partially to insufficient scientific evidence needed to target rangelands where brush control was most likely to improve water yields. Data collected since 1985 have strengthened the scientific basis for estimating how water yields are likely to increase in response to incremental levels of brush removal for sites in the Edwards Plateau. An objective of this thesis was to estimate ranchers' willingness to participate in a cost-sharing program that would facilitate brush control designed to increase water yield. The cost-share offers varied according to the current ranch brush cover and were designed to enable ranchers to control brush for 10 years at no net cost. Survey data analysis addressed two issues fundamental to the design and implementation of policy to promote brush control on privately-owned Texas rangelands. First, a demographic profile of the ranchers most likely to participate in a cost-share program was developed. Second, these data were used to estimate how much land participants are likely to enroll in the brush control cost-sharing scenario examined in this study. Probit and Cragg models were used to estimate landowners' willingness to participate and the number of acres prospective participants were willing to enroll in the proposed program, respectively. Results suggest that an estimated 66% of landowner's who match the demographic profile of the survey respondents are willing to participate in a similar cost-sharing program. Landowners most likely to be willing to participate earn more than 50% of their household income from ranching, derive most of their ranch income from livestock enterprises, own ranches larger than 2,000 acres, and own ranches more than 75 miles from Austin or San Antonio.
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Includes bibliographical references: p. 90-97.
Issued also on microfiche from Lange Micrographics.
Garriga, Matthew David (1998). Tradeoffs associated with increasing water yield from the Edwards Plateau, Texas: balancing private costs and public benefits. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from