Indirect Regulation of the MRVA Aquifer: Options for the Mississippi Delta

Author(s): Massey, J.

An intensively used resource requires intensive management. The Mississippi River Valley Alluvial aquifer is an intensively used resource whose value will only grow as demand for irrigation continues to rise. Effective regulation is necessary in the management of commonly-held resources, and may be direct or indirect in form. Direct regulation includes actions such as permitting, metering, monitoring of water extractions, and assessment of extraction fees. Indirect regulation seeks to manage a resource without coming in direct contact with it. Educational and certification programs represent indirect forms of regulation. Water-resource management literature suggests that indirect regulation is more effective and practical in situations where large numbers of geographically-diffuse extractors use the resource. This is because the cost of effective direct regulation is often prohibitively expensive. Given that there are more than 18,000 active agricultural groundwater well permits distributed over a 17 county area in the Mississippi Delta, indirect regulation will, by necessity, play an important role in the successful management of the alluvial aquifer. The purpose of this presentation is to discuss options for the indirect regulation of the Mississippi River Valley Alluvial aquifer.

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