Water rights and land values in the west-central plains

Allan Jenkins, Bruce Elder, Ram Valluru, Paul Burger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Irrigation is vital to the economic activity of the west-central Great Plains. The crops grown, the distribution of center-pivot irrigation systems, and the basic transportation infrastructure is the same in northwest Kansas, northeast Colorado, and southwest Nebraska. But buyers of agricultural land face a different price for irrigated cropland in each of the states, even when the production characteristics of the land are similar. After accounting for factors like productivity and local property tax differences, we argue that it is the difference in water marketing rights between the three states that explains the price difference. The link between land values and water marketing rights is statistically developed by using Ordinary Least Squared (OLS) regression techniques. After adjusting for differences in property taxes, the analysis reveals that the implicit value of full water-marketing rights in the region is approximately $1,026 per acre. This valuation is within the range of estimates provided by other comparable studies across the country.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-111
Number of pages11
JournalGreat Plains Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2007


  • Irrigation
  • Land values
  • Water rights

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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