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Sustainable Water Policies and the Optimal Development of Desalination Technologies


  • Tsur, Yacov
  • Zemel, Amos


In many arid and semi-arid regions whether or not to use desalinated water has long been a non-issue and policy debates are focused on the timing and extent of the desalination activities. We offer a model to analyze how water scarcity and demand structure, on the one hand, and cost reduction via R&D activities, on the other hand, affect the desirable development of desalination technologies and the optimal time profiles of fresh and desalinated water supplies. The optimal R&D policy is found to follow a Non-Standard Most Rapid Approach Path (NSMRAP): The state of desalination technology—the accumulated knowledge from R&D activities—should approach a prespecified target process as rapidly as possible and proceed along it forever. The NSMRAP property enables a complete characterization of a comprehensive water policy in terms of a simple and tractable set of rules.

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  • Tsur, Yacov & Zemel, Amos, 1999. "Sustainable Water Policies and the Optimal Development of Desalination Technologies," Working Papers 232816, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Center for Agricultural Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:huaewp:232816
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.232816

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    1. Spence, A Michael & Starrett, David, 1975. "Most Rapid Approach Paths in Accumulation Problems," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 16(2), pages 388-403, June.
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