IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Towards an Economics of Irrigation Networks


  • Karl Jandoc

    (Department of Economics, University of Hawai`i at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawai`i, USA)

  • Ruben Juarez

    (Department of Economics, University of Hawai`i at Manoa, and University of Hawai`i Economic Research Organization, Honolulu, Hawai`i, USA)

  • James Roumasset

    (University of Hawai‘i at Manoa & University of Hawai’i Economic Research Organization)


Both the economics and the engineering of irrigation design are typically based on the assumption of a single source. The more general economic problem is to determine which sources should be developed and how water should be allocated and delivered to various receptor-farmers. This is a problem in network economics. We begin our exploration with the problem of allocating irrigation water from existing sources when the conveyance structures are already in place. Transporting water from a particular source to a farmer entails a conveyance loss such that only a fraction of water sent from the source is received by the farmer. Optimal allocation requires that irrigation demands are matched with the least-cost source, including conveyance losses. Economic networks are then defined as optimally-matched subnetworks. Allocation within each economic network is then determined by equalizing the marginal products of water across farmers, reckoned at the source. Different cases are considered depending whether the sources have similar or different cost functions. We provide a modest beginning to the problem of endogenous sources by examining the problem of locating a single source within the network. We also provide a possible reconciliation of equity and efficiency objectives

Suggested Citation

  • Karl Jandoc & Ruben Juarez & James Roumasset, 2014. "Towards an Economics of Irrigation Networks," Working Papers 201416, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hai:wpaper:201416

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: First version, 2014
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. James A. Roumasset & Christopher A. Wada, 2010. "Optimal and Sustainable Groundwater Extraction," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 2(8), pages 1-10, August.
    2. Roumasset James & Wada Christopher A, 2011. "Ordering Renewable Resources: Groundwater, Recycling, and Desalination," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-29, May.
    3. Hervé Moulin, 2008. "The price of anarchy of serial, average and incremental cost sharing," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 36(3), pages 379-405, September.
    4. Chakravorty Ujjayant & Hochman Eithan & Zilberman David, 1995. "A Spatial Model of Optimal Water Conveyance," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 25-41, July.
    5. James Roumasset, 1989. "Decentralization and Local Public Goods: Getting the Incentives Right," Philippine Review of Economics, University of the Philippines School of Economics and Philippine Economic Society, vol. 26(1), pages 1-13, June.
    6. Ujjayant Chakravorty & James Roumasset, 1991. "Efficient Spatial Allocation of Irrigation Water," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 73(1), pages 165-173.
    7. Roumasset James & Wada Christopher A, 2011. "Ordering Renewable Resources: Groundwater, Recycling, and Desalination," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-29, May.
    8. Bergantinos, Gustavo & Vidal-Puga, Juan J., 2007. "A fair rule in minimum cost spanning tree problems," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 137(1), pages 326-352, November.
    9. Aadland, David & Kolpin, Van, 1998. "Shared irrigation costs: An empirical and axiomatic analysis," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 203-218, March.
    10. Ruben Juarez, 2008. "The worst absolute surplus loss in the problem of commons: random priority versus average cost," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 34(1), pages 69-84, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Stahn, Hubert & Tomini, Agnes, 2021. "Externality and common-pool resources: The case of artesian aquifers," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 109(C).
    2. Majah-Leah Ravago & James Roumasset, 2016. "The Public Economics of Electricity Policy with Philippine Applications," Working Papers 201613, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Juarez, Ruben & Ko, Chiu Yu & Xue, Jingyi, 2018. "Sharing sequential values in a network," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 177(C), pages 734-779.
    2. James Roumasset & Christopher Wada, 2012. "The Economics of Groundwater," Working Papers 201211, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
    3. Amine Chekireb & Julio Goncalves & Hubert Stahn & Agnes Tomini, 2021. "Private exploitation of the North-Western Sahara Aquifer System," Working Papers halshs-03457972, HAL.
    4. Luckmann, Jonas & Grethe, Harald & McDonald, Scott, 2015. "When Water Saving Limits Recycling: Modeling Cascading Water Use in a Computable General Equilibrium Framework," Conference papers 332622, Purdue University, Center for Global Trade Analysis, Global Trade Analysis Project.
    5. Ruben Juarez & Rajnish Kumar, 2013. "Implementing efficient graphs in connection networks," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 54(2), pages 359-403, October.
    6. Chieko Umetsu & Ujjayant Chakravorty, 1998. "Water conveyance, return flows and technology choice," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 19(1-2), pages 181-191, September.
    7. Jordi Massó & Antonio Nicoloó & Tridib Sharma & Levent Ülkü, 2013. "On Equal Cost Sharing in the Provision of an Excludable Public Good," Working Papers 1306, Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM.
    8. James Roumasset & Christopher Wada, 2013. "Integrating Demand-Management with Development of Supply-Side Substitutes," Working Papers 2013-13, University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization, University of Hawaii at Manoa.
    9. Harless, Patrick, 2017. "Wary of the worst: Maximizing award guarantees when new claimants may arrive," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 316-328.
    10. James Roumasset & Christopher Wada, 2014. "Integrated Groundwater Resource Management," Working Papers 201414, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
    11. Ioslovich, Ilya & Gutman, Per-Olof, 2001. "A model for the global optimization of water prices and usage for the case of spatially distributed sources and consumers," Mathematics and Computers in Simulation (MATCOM), Elsevier, vol. 56(4), pages 347-356.
    12. Smith, Rodney B. W. & Roumasset, James, 2000. "Constrained conjunctive-use for endogenously separable water markets: managing the Waihole-Waikane aqueduct," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 24(1), pages 61-71, December.
    13. CHAKRAVORTY Ujjayant & UMETSU Chieko & ZILBERMAN David, 2010. "Spatial Water Management under Alternative Institutional Arrangements," EcoMod2003 330700034, EcoMod.
    14. James Roumasset & Christopher Wada, 2014. "Groundwater Economics without Equations," Working Papers 2014-8, University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization, University of Hawaii at Manoa.
    15. Ariana M. Pietrasanta & Mostafa F. Shaaban & Pio A. Aguirre & Sergio F. Mussati & Mohamed A. Hamouda, 2023. "Simulation and Optimization of Renewable Energy-Powered Desalination: A Bibliometric Analysis and Highlights of Recent Research," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 15(12), pages 1-28, June.
    16. Massó, Jordi & Nicolò, Antonio & Sen, Arunava & Sharma, Tridib & Ülkü, Levent, 2015. "On cost sharing in the provision of a binary and excludable public good," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 155(C), pages 30-49.
    17. Moulin, Hervé, 2009. "Almost budget-balanced VCG mechanisms to assign multiple objects," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(1), pages 96-119, January.
    18. Stahn, Hubert & Tomini, Agnès, 2017. "On conjunctive management of groundwater and rainwater," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 186-200.
    19. Ray, Isha & Williams, Jeffrey, 2002. "Locational asymmetry and the potential for cooperation on a canal," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 129-155, February.
    20. R. Aaron Hrozencik & Nicholas A. Potter & Steven Wallander, 2022. "The Cost-Effectiveness of Irrigation Canal Lining and Piping in the Western United States," NBER Chapters, in: American Agriculture, Water Resources, and Climate Change, pages 107-134, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item


    Water networks; Spatial efficiency; Conveyance losses.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • Q25 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Water
    • D85 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Network Formation

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hai:wpaper:201416. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Web Technician (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.