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The affect of urbanization on the cost of operating an irrigation district or canal company




Wilkins-Wells, John, author
Coulter, Thayne, author
U.S. Committee on Irrigation and Drainage, publisher

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This is a report of data collected on irrigation districts and mutual ditch and irrigation companies (what we broadly term irrigation enterprises) in the intermountain region, and comprising the states of Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. The data are from a three year study funded by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and entitled Irrigation Enterprise Management Practice Study IEMPS). The study was located at Colorado State University. A variety of data were collected on thirty-six irrigation districts and canal companies, including operation/maintenance and administrative costs from 1945 to 1995. The combined effective irrigated acreage served by the sample is 1,478,720 acres (1995), or a little over one-tenth of all intermountain irrigated lands served by gravity canal systems. Costs reported are, in effect, the water costs borne by farmers for surface gravity supplies provided by local irrigation enterprises. What follows is (1) a brief overview of average water costs, and (2) a more in-depth analysis of the affect of urbanization on the cost of operating these two forms of enterprises. The conclusion is that urbanization in the region appears to be having a dramatic affect on operating costs, and therefore the price paid by farmers for water supplied through these enterprises.


Presented at Contemporary challenges for irrigation and drainage: proceedings from the USCID 14th technical conference on irrigation, drainage and flood control held on June 3-6, 1998 in Phoenix, Arizona.

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