Increasing economic pressures on water resources are causing countries to (re)consider various mechanisms to improve water use efficiency. This is especially true for irrigation agriculture, a major consumer of water. "Getting prices right" is seen as one way to allocate water, but how to accomplish this remains a debatable issue, Methods of allocating water are sensitive to physical, social, institutional and political settings, making it necessary to design allocation mechanisms accordingly. This paper surveys current and past views on allocating irrigation water with a focus on efficiency, equity, water institutions, and the political economy of water allocation.
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The opinions expressed are those of the authors’ and not necessarily those of the US Department of Agriculture or the Economic Research Service. Robert C. Johansson is an economist with the Economic Research Service of the US Department of Agriculture. This analysis was conducted while he was a graduate research assistant at the University of Minnesota. This review is an outcome of the “Guidelines for Pricing Irrigation Water Based on Efficiency, Implementation, and Equity Concerns” research project, funded by the World Bank Research Support Budget, DECRG, and the Rural Development Department. Ariel Dinar is a Lead Economist in the Rural Development Department of the World Bank. Yacov Tsur is a Professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Management at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Applied Economics at the University of Minnesota. Terry L. Roe is a Professor in the Department of Applied Economics at the University of Minnesota. Rachid M. Doukkali is a Professor in the Department of Social Sciences at the Institut Agronomique et Veterninaire Hassan II in Morocco.
- Irrigation water
- Water allocations
- Water pricing