ERA Economics works with a range of state, federal, and local clients to evaluate the economic and financial feasibility of projects and new land development. An important application of economic feasibility assessments is for establishing reserved water rights for tribes. When it set aside lands for reservations, the federal government implicitly reserved water rights to meet those reservation needs. Quantifying the water right can require establishing the amount of water that would be required to supply the practicably irrigable acreage (PIA) and other needs on the reservation. Application of the PIA standard to quantify reserved water rights requires two interrelated steps. The acreage must pass technical feasibility by showing that the proposed irrigated crops can be grown on the land, and that growing the irrigated crops is economically feasible. A PIA analysis is a specific type of feasibility assessment that considers both technical and economic factors. With some regions that are not dependent on irrigated agriculture, application of the Practicably Irrigable Acreage standard can require consideration of the feasibility of other potential water uses.
Our firm has worked extensively with clients and broader technical teams to evaluate the economic and financial aspects of projects and new water supply development, under PIA and other feasibility standards. Our data-driven approach to feasibility studies develops baseline economic data and an agricultural economic model of conditions in the area. This framework is used to establish economic benefits and is closely linked with an evaluation of technical feasibility and costs. We understand how the economic feasibility analysis integrates with the technical and financial feasibility considerations of projects.