In their adoption of HB 579, the apparent legislative intent was to obtain clear and accurate information on the patterns and amounts of such use, which information is essential to proper management of water resources by the state and useful to farmers for improving efficiency and effectiveness of their use of water. As a part of their charge to implement this program of measuring agricultural water use, GSWCC is required to read metering devices annually, and to compile and report findings.
This paper suggests approaches that might be used by the GSWCC in responding to these legislative mandates. Using data drawn from meters installed during the meter installation program's first year -- 2004 -- examples are given for types of summary statistics that might serve the GSWCC's interests in using metering data for purposes that support their more general mission of assisting farmers in their efforts to improve the management and conservation of land and water resources. We also suggest the structure of an analytical model that can be used to several important purposes, most important among which are to explore primary determinants of water use in the agricultural sector, and to assess the effectiveness of public policies in improving water use efficiency. While the peculiarities of hydrological conditions in 2004, coupled with expected data problems during the meter installation program's initial year of operation, does not allow for meaningful applications of the model when 2004 data are used, we suggest that it will play its intended role for data analyses in future years as improved data become available from the metering program.
Finally, we describe a program that we are in the process of developing that will carry results from the metering program directly to the farmer in ways that should be useful to him or her in efforts to optimally manage land and water resources. This program will involve making available to farmers a secure, on-line means for accessing data, and an ability to compare their individual performance (in terms of such measures as yields and water use) with average performance measures from farms with similar characteristics. Working Paper Number 2005-006