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Mutual monitoring in a tradable water rights system: A case study of Zhangye City in Northwest China


  • Zhang, Jun-Lian
  • Zhang, Feng-Rong


Tradable water right systems are becoming important ways to achieve distributive efficiency in water resources. In 2002, China's Ministry of Water Resources initiated a pilot project in Zhangye City in Northwest China. The project was designed to establish a new water use rights system with tradable water quotas with the hope of reallocating water resources more efficiently through market-based instruments. However, the tradable water right system is not well enforced. Based on both primary and secondary data, we find that mutual monitoring can improve the effectiveness of a water allocation and trading program. For both surface water and groundwater irrigation systems, the conditions needed to stimulate mutual monitoring include: (1) a hierarchical management system; (2) well defined water rights or quotas; (3) control of total water quotas and water sources by the upper hierarchy; and (4) an approximate balance between the water supply or pumping capacity and the water quota. We describe also the institutional requirements for stimulating mutual monitoring.

Suggested Citation

  • Zhang, Jun-Lian & Zhang, Feng-Rong, 2008. "Mutual monitoring in a tradable water rights system: A case study of Zhangye City in Northwest China," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 95(3), pages 331-338, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:agiwat:v:95:y:2008:i:3:p:331-338

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Takahashi, Taro & Aizaki, Hideo & Ge, Yingchun & Ma, Mingguo & Nakashima, Yasuhiro & Sato, Takeshi & Wang, Weizhen & Yamada, Nanae, 2013. "Agricultural water trade under farmland fragmentation: A simulation analysis of an irrigation district in northwestern China," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 63-66.
    2. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:2:p:450-:d:131019 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Chao Bao & Chuang-lin Fang, 2012. "Water Resources Flows Related to Urbanization in China: Challenges and Perspectives for Water Management and Urban Development," Water Resources Management: An International Journal, Published for the European Water Resources Association (EWRA), Springer;European Water Resources Association (EWRA), vol. 26(2), pages 531-552, January.

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