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

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  • Gary D. Libecap

    ()

  • R. Quentin Grafton
  • Clay Landry
  • J.R. O’Brien

Abstract

Worldwide supplies of fresh water are increasingly scarce relative to demand. This problem is likely to be exacerbated with climate change. In this paper, we examine water markets in both Australia’s Murray Darling Basin and the western US and their prospects for addressing water scarcity. The two regions share a number of important similarities including: climate variability that requires investment in reservoirs to make water available in low-rainfall periods; the need for internal and cross-border (state) water management; an historical major allocation of water to irrigators; increasing competition among different uses (agricultural, environmental and recreational in situ uses, urban demand); and the potential for water trading to more smoothly and quickly allocate water across these competing uses. A comparison of the two regions provides important insights about how economic factors can encourage more efficient water allocation, market structure and government regulation.

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File URL: http://www.icer.it/docs/wp2009/ICERwp15-09.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by ICER - International Centre for Economic Research in its series ICER Working Papers with number 15-2009.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:icr:wpicer:15-2009

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  1. Anderson, Terry L & Johnson, Ronald N, 1986. "The Problem of Instream Flows," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 24(4), pages 535-54, October.
  2. Anonymous, 2003. "Water Rights Arrangements in Australia and Overseas," Commission Research Papers 31899, Productivity Commission.
  3. Brousseau,Éric & Glachant,Jean-Michel (ed.), 2008. "New Institutional Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521876605, November.
  4. 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.
  5. Provencher Bill & Burt Oscar, 1993. "The Externalities Associated with the Common Property Exploitation of Groundwater," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 139-158, March.
  6. Brousseau,Éric & Glachant,Jean-Michel (ed.), 2008. "New Institutional Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521700160, November.
  7. Lueck, Dean, 1995. "The Rule of First Possession and the Design of the Law," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(2), pages 393-436, October.
  8. 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.
  9. Anonymous, 2006. "Rural Water Use and the Environment: The Role of Market Mechanisms," Commissioned Studies 8020, Productivity Commission.
  10. Brewer, Jedidiah & Libecap, Gary D., 2009. "Property rights and the public trust doctrine in environmental protection and natural resource conservation," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 53(1), March.
  11. Jedidiah Brewer & Robert Glennon & Alan Ker & Gary D. Libecap, 2007. "Water Markets in the West: Prices, Trading, and Contractual Forms," NBER Working Papers 13002, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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