Headwater Lecture and WRS Seminar

Human Behavior and the Economics of Groundwater Conservation


Dr. Jordan Suter
Colorado State University

October 4, 2019


Groundwater resources are increasingly being relied upon for the provision of drinking water and inputs to irrigation. In many areas, demand for groundwater exceeds natural recharge, which is leading to declines in the availability of these important resources. As management organizations seek to sustain groundwater resources, it is important to understand the tradeoffs associated with the various conservation options that are available. This presentation discusses the importance of linking models of human behavior and physical models of groundwater systems to understand the implications of specific groundwater management strategies over time. Results related to conservation policy tradeoffs will be discussed in the context of the Ogallala Aquifer in the high plains region of the US. In addition to highlighting the implications for groundwater management, future research challenges and opportunities related to hydro-economic modeling will be discussed.

Short Bio:
Dr. Jordan Suter received his MS and PhD in Resource Economics from Cornell University. He initially served as an Assistant Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies at Oberlin College and is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at Colorado State University. Dr. Suter’s research primarily addresses issues related to land use and water resource economics by analyzing how individuals and groups respond to the incentives generated by regulatory policies and resource characteristics. Current research projects that he is working on use hydro-economic modeling to assess the economic tradeoffs associated with groundwater management and the performance of policies aimed at improving surface water quality. He also has current research that utilizes methods from experimental economics to assess human behavior related to water resource use and monitoring.