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Water Markets: Australia's Murray Darling Basin and the US Southwest


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  • R. Quentin Grafton

    (Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University, Australia)

  • Clay Landry
  • Gary D. Libecap
  • R.J. (Bob) O'Brien


Although fresh water is abundant at a global level, only a tiny amount, less than 0.3 %, is easily accessible for human use (Dinar et al., 2007). An increasing amount of this water is utilized, with global water withdrawals tripling since 1950. Presently, 70 % of the world’s population lives in countries that withdraw more than 40 % of the available water resources. If current trends continue, by 2025 up to a third of humanity will be living in countries in regions where water withdrawals exceed 60 % of the amount available (Shiklomanov, 2003). At these levels of withdrawal there will be insufficient fresh water to maintain many existing natural habitats, and inhabitants will face acute water shortages, especially in times of drought.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Water Economics, Environment and Policy, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University in its series Centre for Water Economics, Environment and Policy Papers with number 0902.

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Length: 37
Date of creation: Feb 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:een:cweanu:0902

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  1. R. Quentin Grafton & Michael B. Ward, 2008. "Prices versus Rationing: Marshallian Surplus and Mandatory Water Restrictions," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 84(s1), pages S57-S65, 09.
  2. Johnson, Ronald N & Gisser, Micha, 1981. "The Definition of a Surface Water Right and Transferability," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(2), pages 273-88, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Quentin Grafton & Clay Landry & Gary Libecap & Sam McGlennon & Bob O'Brien, 2010. "An Integrated Assessment of Water Markets: Australia, Chile, China, South Africa and the USA," Centre for Water Economics, Environment and Policy Papers 1009, Centre for Water Economics, Environment and Policy, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.


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