In recent decades, the use of economic instruments has been promoted as a way to improve water demand management, required due to the difficulty of further supply increases. Against this backdrop, this paper analyses the potential of water banks as a type of water market that can provide institutional flexibility in the allocation of water resources among different users. Research has involved an extensive review of the literature, which has allowed us to identify different types of water banks that operate around the world, as well as an analysis of the experiences of water banks implemented to date, in order to assess the performance of this economic instrument in improving water management. This has provided evidence that water banks, if properly implemented, can be a useful tool for improving governance of water resources. Finally, the analysis has enabled us to propose a number of guidelines on how to improve the implementation of water banks in different countries around the world.
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