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Optimal Management of a Coastal Aquifer with Interacting Resources

Invasive kiawe, which has the ability to capture groundwater from underlying aquifers, noticeably affects economically optimal drawdown patterns of the aquifer over long time horizons

Local and global changes continue to influence interactions between groundwater and terrestrial systems. Increasing demand due to population and income growth, changing precipitation patterns, and land cover conversion all affect the water balance of a given watershed, and thus affect both the quantity and quality of freshwater entering and leaving the ground. Recent groundwater economics research has begun to incorporate climate change projections and expected demand growth patterns, but few studies have focused on jointly managing land cover and groundwater withdrawals. We modify a simple coastal aquifer model to allow for the possibility that an interdependent terrestrial resource can also affect water balance in the region. In an application to the Kona Coast, we find that the invasive kiawe (Prosopis pallida), which has the ability to capture groundwater from underlying aquifers, noticeably affects economically optimal drawdown patterns of the aquifer over long time horizons. Because the objective is to maximize the net present value of water, the integrated management model necessarily examines the tradeoff between groundwater pumping and kiawe removal and minimizes their combined cost over time. We find that kiawe damage costs are nonlinear in the rate of water demand growth and can be attributed to three main factors: groundwater extraction costs, anticipated future water scarcity, and the cost of groundwater alternatives.

Supported by: NSF EPSCoR Grant No. EPS-0903833

  

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