The Effects of Well Management and the Nature of the Aquifer on Groundwater Resources

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We compare groundwater use under collective well management in China, where village leaders allocate water among households, and under private well management where farmers either pump from their own wells or buy water from wells owned by other farmers. Villages are divided into connected or isolated groups depending on whether there are lateral groundwater flows between aquifers underlying a village and neighboring ones. In rural China, households under collective well management use less water. Even under collective management, households located in connected villages use more water, indicating that the connectedness of the aquifers may undermine leaders’ incentives to conserve water.

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