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The Interstate River Compact as a Water Allocation Mechanism: Efficiency Aspects

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  • Lynne Lewis Bennett
  • Charles W. Howe
  • James Shope

Abstract

Interstate river compacts are widely used to allocate water among riparian states. Twenty-one compacts are currently in force in the western United States, and these compacts are mostly of two types: those that allocate a fixed amount or flow of water to individual states; and those that allocate percentages of available water to the riparian states. This study compares the performance of the two resulting allocations with that resulting from basin-wide optimization without compact constraints. While widely varying hydrologic and economic characteristics of river basins create a large set of possible outcomes, a range of stylized case studies indicates that percentage compacts are likely to generate greater net benefits and to result in more equitable risk-sharing than fixed compacts under many circumstances. In light of recent compact negotiations in the southeastern United States, it is recommended that efficiency analyses under present and future conditions be made a part of all compact negotiations. Copyright 2000, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Lynne Lewis Bennett & Charles W. Howe & James Shope, 2000. "The Interstate River Compact as a Water Allocation Mechanism: Efficiency Aspects," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 82(4), pages 1006-1015.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:ajagec:v:82:y:2000:i:4:p:1006-1015
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/0002-9092.00098
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Bennett, Lynne Lewis, 2000. "The integration of water quality into transboundary allocation agreements Lessons from the southwestern United States," Agricultural Economics of Agricultural Economists, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 24(1), December.
    2. Ambec, Stefan & Dinar, Ariel & McKinney, Daene, 2011. "Fixed Water Sharing Agreements Sustainable to Drought," LERNA Working Papers 11.19.353, LERNA, University of Toulouse.
    3. Ambec, Stefan & Dinar, Ariel, 2010. "Hot Stuff: Would Climate Change Alter Transboundary Water Sharing Treaties?," IDEI Working Papers 656, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
    4. Erik Ansink & Arjan Ruijs, 2008. "Climate Change and the Stability of Water Allocation Agreements," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 41(2), pages 249-266, October.
    5. Ansink, Erik & Houba, Harold, 2016. "Sustainable agreements on stochastic river flow," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 92-117.
    6. Holland, Stephen P. & Moore, Michael R., 2003. "Cadillac Desert revisited: property rights, public policy, and water-resource depletion," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 131-155, July.
    7. Ambec, Stefan & Dinar, Ariel & McKinney, Daene, 2013. "Water sharing agreements sustainable to reduced flows," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 66(3), pages 639-655.
    8. Erik Ansink & Harold Houba, 2014. "The Economics of Transboundary River Management," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 14-132/VIII, Tinbergen Institute.

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