Submitted to: Water Management Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/15/2008
Publication Date: 5/31/2008
Citation: Bautista, E., Roanhorse, A., Waller, P., Hanrahan, M. 2008. Agricultural water conservation policy in an urbanizing environment: The Arizona BMP Program. Water Management Conference Proceedings. CDROM p. 395-408.
Interpretive Summary: The USDA-ARS Arid Land Agricultural Research Center is evaluating the State of Arizona’s Best Management Practices (BMP) Program for agricultural water conservation. The study is being conducted in collaboration with the Dept. of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering of the University of Arizona, under an agreement with the Arizona Department of Water Resources. Because of the short history of the BMP Program, the evaluation focuses on the program's design and initial implementation. At the time that the BMP Program was launched, urban expansion in the Phoenix metropolitan area was peaking, with consequent losses of agricultural land located near Phoenix and changes in agricultural patterns in areas farther away from Phoenix. This paper discusses the initial findings of the study, with particular emphasis on the reasons for the farmer to enroll in the program, given the existing pressures from urban encroachment. The study should be of interest to other researchers and policy makers interested in the effect of resource conservation policies.
Technical Abstract: The Arizona legislature authorized in 2002 an agricultural water conservation program based on best management practices. The program is voluntary and an alternative to one based on allotments that have been in operation since 1980. The program requires the farmers to adopt conservation practices from an approved list and, in exchange, removes the allotment limitation. This program was launched at a time when housing development was rapidly expanding in the Phoenix metropolitan area at the expense of irrigated farmland. A study is being conducted to examine the initial response of the farming community to the program in the Phoenix and Pinal Active Management Areas. This paper discusses the initial findings of the study, with particular emphasis on the reasons for the farmer to enroll in the program, given the existing pressures from urban encroachment.