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Impacts of Climate Change on Water Management in the South Central Texas Region

AAEA members publish new research in AEPP

Texas is in a long term drought and billions are being spent to secure future supplies.  This summer is likely to be affected by the ongoing La Nina and water will likely be short. The IPCC just released its latest impacts report showing concerns especially in areas like the US southwest and we find the concerns are valid.

In the new article “Impacts of Climate Change on Water Management,” generated under an NSF funded project, Chengcheng Fei, Bruce A. McCarl, Yingqian Yang, Yuhong Lei, Lingyi Li, Raghavan Srinivasan, and Bingru Sheng from Texas A&M University, Essayas Kaba Ayana from Formation Environmental, LLC, and Xinxin Fan from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign look into the challenges of water planning to meet increasing water demand in water scarce South Central Texas, and how climate change is also effecting the situation, on both demand and supply sides.

Fei and McCarl say, “Our results indicate that actions undertaken in the region today can accommodate growth out to the 2030's and then more water will need to be developed or reallocated.  After that we find that continued demand growth stimulates new water development efforts coupled with agricultural water reduction and reallocation. For agriculture the amount of irrigated land falls and more deficit irrigation is employed. We also find climate change enhances those actions causing substantial additional water development and yet smaller agricultural irrigation. In fact climate change causes cropping to fall dramatically with land use shifted to pasture.”

Fei and McCarl continue, “Additionally, our results also show that electricity demands are substantially increased by water project development. Namely actions like pumping and desalination add to electricity demands. These findings arose out of a regional scale modeling analysis. For future planning, we believe that using a model to consider the entire water and electricity issue is a valuable way to evaluate regional  decisions providing unbiased insights.”

If you are interested in setting up an interview, please contact Allison Ware in the AAEA Business Office.

ABOUT AAEA: Established in 1910, the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA) is the leading professional association for agricultural and applied economists, with 2,500 members in more than 60 countries. Members of the AAEA work in academic or government institutions as well as in industry and not-for-profit organizations, and engage in a variety of research, teaching, and outreach activities in the areas of agriculture, the environment, food, health, and international development. The AAEA publishes two journals, the American Journal of Agricultural Economics and Applied Economic Perspectives & Policy, as well as the online magazine Choices and the online open access publication series Applied Economics Teaching Resources. To learn more, visit

Contact: Allison Ware
Senior Communications Manager
(414) 918-3190