Garwood Irrigation Division Water Use, 2012-2016: Quantifying the Effects of Time, Field Characteristics, and Farmers on Purchased Water
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Texas State University was approached by the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) during the summer of 2016 to conduct an analysis of water savings that might be attributed to volumetric measurement and pricing, a conservation strategy that was newly implemented in the Garwood Irrigation Division in 2012. Five years of data were expected to become available at the end of 2016 and plans to collect these data were made in order to develop a statistical model using an approach that had been used in a previous study conducted with data from the Lakeside Irrigation Division.1 Preparations got underway beginning in the Fall of 2016, a project proposal was submitted to LCRA in November, and an Interlocal Cooperation Agreement (ICA) was executed in January 2017. While the original ICA was scheduled to end August 31, 2017, the timing of water price data delivery and challenges related to data integration necessitated a two-month, no-cost extension.
Data collected for this project came from a variety of sources. Survey questionnaire data were collected from farmers via in-person interviews, water-use billing data and GIS-based shapefiles were provided by LCRA, and climate data were sourced from LCRA’s Hydromet system of weather stations (temperature and rainfall) and Texas A&M University’s Eagle Lake Research Station (evapotranspiration.) Historical data, such as pre-2012 billed water use and on-farm data such as we collected via the survey, were not available and thus, estimating the independent effects of volumetric measurement and pricing on water use is not possible.2 Analyses that were conducted with the dataset created by the Texas State project team yielded considerable insight into the relationship between annual water use by rice farmers and a variety of explanatory factors, nonetheless. It is the purpose of this report to provide those results and an interpretation of their meaning where possible.