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An Exploratory Study of Introducing Common Property-Based Management for the Sustainable Groundwater use in Mississippi
Proceedings of the 2019 Mississippi Water Resources Conference

Year: 2019 Authors: Ko J.


Underground water levels have dropped in Mississippi over the last two decades, because most municipalities have depended on groundwater for their tap water sources and irrigations for large-scale cash crop - cotton, corn, soybean farming also have depended on groundwater in the State of Mississippi. The natural resource is regarded as private property and reporting of water use is not required in state. Currently the voluntary reporting of groundwater withdrawal has remained at ten percent and the State of Mississippi is in a legal dispute with Tennessee over the groundwater near the state border to secure more groundwater. These cases show well serious challenges in designing programs for stabilizing water table in aquafer, and for sustainable water use in the State. Elinor Ostrom (co-recipient of the Nobel prize in economics in 2009) and her associates have developed theoretical and empirical studies of common property-based management for natural resources, including aquafer. Western States, which had adopted private property as fundamental right in their state water policies, have increasingly adopted the common property-based management in managing their watersheds and aquafers over the years. For example, Arizona designates the areas experiencing rapidly depleting groundwater as Active Management Areas and mandates estimation of safe-yield and preservation of groundwater for future use. The proposed study examines differences between private property-based and common property-based managements and explores potential changes in Mississippi from the cases of water management in the Western States, if adopted.

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