Skip Navigation

Energy Institute Lecture Series: Dr. Bruce A. McCarl

August 10, 2020

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Energy Institute Lecture Series

The Effects of Population Growth and Climate Change on Water Project Selection: Food-Energy-Water (Few) Nexus Analysis in South Central Texas

The next presentation in the Texas A&M Energy Institute Lecture Series, featuring Dr. Bruce A. McCarl, a University Distinguished Professor, a Regents Professor, and a Texas AgriLife Faculty Fellow at Texas A&M University, will be held on Monday, August 10, 2020, from 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. CDT (GMT -5:00) through an online Zoom meeting. The topic will be “The Effects of Population Growth and Climate Change on Water Project Selection: Food-Energy-Water (Few) Nexus Analysis in South Central Texas.”


Bruce A. McCarl, Distinguished Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics
Chengcheng J. Fei, Post-doctoral Research Associate, Department of Agricultural Economics

We are leading an NSF project on the Food, Energy, Water Nexus in a water scarce region and will report on activities and modeling under that project.  The project is based on the hypothesis that coordinated decision making among competing FEW users under the assumption that coordinated decision making would increase regional social welfare and improve sustainability. South Central Texas is the study region and has a substantial projected water deficit plus a growing electricity demand and an agriculture that has been marketing its water. The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) regional planning group has proposed a number of water projects to alleviate the deficit and a number of power supply possibilities are being considered. We examine those proposals plus possible actions in power plant cooling, agriculture, fracking and price induced M&I conservation. To do this we employed both economic engineering and an integrated, stochastic water availability and power supply, regional economic model. That model simulates regional agricultural and electricity production as well as water allocation between agriculture, power plant cooling, fracking and M&I. We used that model to examine the impacts of population growth and climate change on agriculture, water project construction, water project operation, cooling, power plant addition, water flows and aquifer characteristics. We found that more water projects are constructed and operated with population growth and climate change and that the water projects expand power demand. Moreover, we examined what happens if regional entities did not cooperate in water transfers as a means to get an idea of possible needed compensation to incentivize cooperation.

In the seminar we will broadly discuss project activities then focus in on modeling approaches used and study results.


Bruce A. McCarl is a University Distinguished Professor, a Presidential Impact Fellow, a Regents Professor, a Senior AgriLife Research Fellow and a Professor of Agricultural Economics at Texas A&M University.  Dr. McCarl has been at Texas A&M since 1985 and was previously at Oregon State and Purdue. He earned a B.S. in Business Statistics from the University of Colorado and a Ph.D. in Management Science from Pennsylvania State University.  He works on economic implications of food, energy water, Nexus; global climate change and greenhouse gas emission reduction, as well as forestry and agricultural policy design, biofuels, mathematical programming and risk analysis. He is the author of 296 journal articles and more than 500 other papers and presentations.  He has been involved with over $82 million in sponsored research.  He is a Fellow of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association plus a fellow of both the Western and Southern Agricultural Economics Associations.  He was part of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that was co recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.