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The Neglected Water Rebound Effect of Income and Employment Growth


  • Alexandros Gkatsikos

    (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki)

  • Konstadinos Mattas

    (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki)

  • Efstratios Loizou

    (University of Western Macedonia)

  • Dimitrios Psaltopoulos

    (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki)


The water footprint assessment, particularly for the agricultural sector, is often a valuable input to water policy formation globally. Efforts on reducing it focus on water-saving actions through adoption of irrigation technological improvements. However, gained water efficiency enhances agricultural output productivity and water consumption remains equivalent as before to attain higher income, causing the so-called water rebound effect. This rebound effect has been addressed in the literature through water pricing scenarios but with ambiguous results. In this work, two water trade-off multipliers are introduced to account for the impact of income increase and job creation on water consumption as a result of CAP 2014-2020 water saving actions. Build upon the knowledge gained in an EU funded project (CARERA , EU FP6), an input-output model is applied to estimate total water requirements with a special focus on several crops for a Mediterranean water-deprived region. Three policy scenarios are developed to measure the rebound effect of income and employment and determine the actual water footprint of the study area. Results indicate that one percent drop of water consumption by agriculture, diminishes the water footprint of the economy by only 0.33%. Furthermore, by incorporating indirect income and employment effects in the model, the water footprint is significantly increased.

Suggested Citation

  • Alexandros Gkatsikos & Konstadinos Mattas & Efstratios Loizou & Dimitrios Psaltopoulos, 2022. "The Neglected Water Rebound Effect of Income and Employment Growth," Water Resources Management: An International Journal, Published for the European Water Resources Association (EWRA), Springer;European Water Resources Association (EWRA), vol. 36(1), pages 379-398, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:waterr:v:36:y:2022:i:1:d:10.1007_s11269-021-03032-w
    DOI: 10.1007/s11269-021-03032-w

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