Groundwater management: Waiting for a drought*

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

In this article we present a stylized model for optimal management of an unconfined groundwater resource when the threat of drought exists. The drought is modeled as a stochastic event that hits at an uncertain date and two benchmark management policies are investigated: (a) A policy of optimal dynamic management ignoring the threat of drought; and (b) an economically optimal policy that accounts for the threat of a drought. We show that the optimal predrought steady-state equilibrium stock size of groundwater under policy b is larger than that under policy (a) Furthermore, we show that an increase in the probability of a drought gives rise to two counteracting effects: One in the direction of a larger predrought steady-state equilibrium stock size (a recovery effect) and one in the direction of a lower predrought steady-state equilibrium stock (an extinction effect). We find that the recovery effect dominates the extinction effect. Recommendations for Resource Managers:. We analyze two groundwater extraction policies that can be used when a threat of drought exists: (a) Dynamic optimal management ignoring the threat of drought; and (b) dynamic optimal management taking the threat of drought into account. We show that the predrought steady-state equilibrium stock size of water should be larger under the policy (b) than under policy (a). This conclusion has three implications for resource managers: Current groundwater management should take future extraction possibilities into account. A resource manager ought to take the threat of drought into account in groundwater management. A buffer stock of water should be built-up before the drought to be drawn upon during the event.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12205
JournalNatural Resource Modeling
Number of pages30
ISSN0890-8575
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Jan 2019

    Research areas

  • drought, groundwater management, uncertainty

ID: 212685067