Projects Funded for Gloria Gonzalez-Rivera


Impact of UC Cooperative Extension on California's Irrigation Water Use Efficiency

Ariel Dinar and Gloria Gonzalez-Rivera


Specific Objectives of the Project

(1) Estimate, using existing data at individual farm level, the impact of UC Cooperative
Extension efforts on the use of efficient irrigation water across the 58 counties of the state of
(2) Provide an assessment of the relative efficacy of various extension intervention efforts and
investments needed for the different counties to ensure efficient water usage;
(3) Develop a framework to extend the estimation of the impact of Extension services on
irrigation efficiency across the western states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Montana,
Nebraska, Idaho, Oregon, Utah and Washington. (The framework developed under this
proposed Giannini project will be applied, with future funding under a different project to be

Summary of Results

University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) is responsible for disseminating
irrigation information with the aim of enhancing productivity, using irrigation efficient
technology and water management practices. we estimated the impact of UCCE as a source of
irrigation information and knowhow, on irrigation efficient production and water use for
California’s farmers. The analysis in the paper uses Farm and Ranch Irrigation Survey (FRIS) for
the years 2003 and 2008. Empirical results indicate positive impacts of UCCE on irrigation
efficient production, and water use per irrigated acre. The latter result suggests the phenomenon
of rise in water use due to increased acreage and production, resulting from the use of irrigation
efficient technology and management techniques. UCCE as a source of irrigation information
has a significant impact of $3,035 on farm level irrigation efficient production, and also a 1.17
acre-feet/irrigated acre rise in water use, suggesting selection of a more profitable cropping
pattern. However through the use of the water-saving irrigation systems, farmers do increase the
average value of output per irrigated acre, and incur a net profit, with the increased irrigation
water use. Policy implications based on better understanding of underlying hydrological systems,
can improve water savings. Policy prescriptions also include collaboration of UCCE and other
irrigation information sources, to act as substitutes in the dissemination of irrigation information.