High Plains Ogallala Aquifer Study, Curry County, New Mexico
New Mexico participated with five High Plains states and the High Plains Associates in the Six-State High Plains-Ogallala Aquifer Area Study. The purpose of the study was to estimate the economic impacts over a 40-year planning horizon resulting from rapidly rising energy costs and the declining Ogallala aquifer water tables in Curry County.
Four management strategies including a baseline, voluntary water conservation, mandatory irrigation water supply reduction, and interstate importation were evaluated.
The total gross output of all goods and services for Curry County was about $406 million in 1977. It is projected to be $516 million in 1985, $654 million in 1990, $756 million in 2000, and $832 million in 2020 for the baseline. The differences in gross output among the management strategies are due primarily to changes in the agricultural sectors.
The important sectors are agriculture and manufacturing. The agricultural sectors are projected to have a major economic impact. In 1977, they accounted for about $208 million of the total output, and by 1985 they are projected to account for $270 million. In 1985, they are expected to account for $283 million in 1990, $286 million in 2000, and $296 million in 2020. The manufacturing sectors are expected to expand throughout the period. The Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate (FIRE) sectors were next in importance and generally showed an increase (from $44 million in 1977 to $93 million in 2020).
Output under the voluntary strategy is projected to be about $25,000 more than the baseline output in 2020. This is due to $42,000 more output in the agricultural sectors and $17,000 less in the construction sectors. The mandatory strategy resulted in $4.24 million more output in 2020 than the baseline and the importation strategy resulted in $8.527 million more than the baseline.
The total employment in Curry County in 1977 was 12,594 and is expected to increase to 19,199 by 1990 then decrease to 14,325 by 2020. Government was the largest employer throughout the period accounting for about 53 percent in 1977 and 42 percent in 2020.