Drainwater management for salinity mitigation in irrigated agriculture

Kurt A. Schwabe*, Iddo Kan, Keith C. Knapp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Salinity and drainage management options include source control, reuse, and evaporation ponds. This article identifies efficient strategies to maintain hydrologic balance in closed drainage basins and evaluates their impact on regional agricultural profits. Theoretical analysis suggests that economic efficiency requires acknowledgment of the nonseparability between water use and land value. Empirically, our solution involves a modest amount of source control, a substantial amount of reuse, and the elimination of evaporation ponds often associated with large environmental damages, while maintaining grower income. Various policy instruments and options are introduced and discussed, including a system of drainwater charges, marketable permits, and land retirement.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)133-149
Number of pages17
JournalAmerican Journal of Agricultural Economics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2006
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank the reviewers and editor for helpful comments and suggestions. Funding was provided by both the University of California Salinity and Drainage Program and the California Agricultural Experiment Station.


  • Integrated drainwater management
  • Irrigated agriculture
  • Mathematical programming
  • Salinity


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