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Estimating the Required Investment to Attain Region M Water Savings Through Rehabilitation of Water-Delivery Infrastructure - 2005 Perspectives

Ronald D. Lacewell, M. Edward Rister and Allen W. Sturdivant

Irrigation districts in the Texas Lower Rio Grande Valley use an antiquated water-delivery conveyance system; which loses substantial water from seepage, evaporation, etc. Pressures are increasing for districts to improve their operational efficiencies. Rehabilitation of the system has been estimated to save approximately 211,000 ac-ft of water annually; which can benefit agricultural, municipal, and industrial users in the region. Combining these estimated savings with prior economic and financial analyses of 17 proposed rehabilitative project components result in an extrapolated estimated required initial capital investment of $157.8 million in rehabilitative measures to attain the 211,000 ac-ft of annual savings. A caveat to the exactness of this dollar estimate is warranted, however, because this single-point estimate is built upon other estimates (e.g., water savings, initial construction costs, etc.) by irrigation district management, consulting engineers, and university scientists. Future application of on-going economic work, combined with an ‘in-process’ revised estimate of potential water savings (i.e., from the current 211,000 ac-ft), could provide an improved investment estimate in the future.

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