A new University of Colorado Boulder-led study suggests that self-imposed well-pumping fees can play an important role in helping farmers conserve groundwater. In Colorado's San Luis Valley, about 700 farmers voted to self-impose a fee on groundwater. As a result of the fee, farmers slashed use by a third, planted less thirsty crops, and watered more efficiently. As part of a National Science Foundation grant aimed at assessing self-organized water conservation programs, researchers spent years in the San Luis Valley Basin meeting with stakeholders and collecting data. Their study on the effectiveness of the self-imposed fee was published in the Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists.
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