Texas groundwater law is based on the rule of capture; however, recent legislation provides groundwater conservation districts with the authority to implement groundwater use rules to manage aquifers. The objective of this study was to develop optimization models to analyze effects of groundwater policies on the Ogallala Aquifer and evaluate economic impacts on the Southern High Plains of Texas. The results of this study indicate that a policy that restricts the quantity of groundwater pumped conserved more water over the 50-year time horizon than implementation of a water use fee, but at a higher cost to local economies.

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