Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2019

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors



First Advisor

Daniel Kaffine

Second Advisor

Martin Boileau


This study addresses the question of groundwater use sensitivity to changes in climate. We use county fixed effects models to empirically estimate the effect of climatic changes during the growing season on groundwater use for irrigation. This study uses data from USGS reports on industry water use and weather data from NOAA. We find both precipitation and temperature have a significant effect on groundwater irrigation, with particular prominence in areas with lower annual precipitation on average. These effect estimates are then used to model the effects of climate change on groundwater irrigation by the end of the century. We conclude that groundwater users are more responsive in their groundwater use to changes in precipitation than to changes in temperature, and that increased groundwater demand will be particularly prominent in Texas, the states overlying the High Plains Aquifer, and in parts of the Northwestern United States.