Because of large upstream diversions for agriculture and an absence of policies to protect in-stream flows, flows in the Rio Grande near Taos, New Mexico, routinely are low by midsummer. The reach is a popular whitewater run in the southwestern United States when flows are adequate for river running. This article estimates the regional economic impacts attributable to summer streamflow depletions. Economic analysis indicates that while lower water levels affect the number of people coming to the region to raft on one river reach, low water levels had no effect on another nearby rafting area. Total expenditures and economic impacts were simulated for streamflows maintained at levels adequate for whitewater recreation throughout the summer season. These simulations indicate a 24% ($0.74 million) increase in rafting-linked expenditures and a 25% ($0.94 million) increase in value added from rafting, compared to actual 1992 expenditures and value added.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Water Science and Technology