Special Issue "Institutions and Economics of Water Scarcity and Droughts"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Water Use and Scarcity".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2020).

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A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Julio Berbel
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Cordoba. Campus Rabanales, 14014 Córdoba, Spain.
Interests: agricultural and resource economics; water management; water policy; multicriteria decision theory; environmental policy
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Nazaret M. Montilla-López
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department Agricultural Economics, Finance and Accounting, University of Cordoba, E-14014 Córdoba, Spain
Interests: water pricing; water banks; water market; water resources management; agricultural mathematical programming
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Giacomo Giannoccaro
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural and Environmental Science (DiSAAT), University of Bari “Aldo Moro”, via Amendola 165/a, 70126 Bari, Italy
Interests: agricultural and resource economics; food policy; water policy; groundwater; consumer acceptation
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Integrated water resources management seeks an efficient blend of all available resources (e.g., fresh surface water, groundwater, reused water, desalinated water) to meet the demands of the full range of water users (e.g., agriculture, municipalities, industry, and e-flows). Water scarcity and droughts affect many regions of the world, and are expected to increase as a consequence of climate change and economic growth.

This Special Issue aims to attend to the following questions: economic effects of water scarcity and droughts, effects of water scarcity and droughts on ecosystems and public health, instruments to manage scarcity and droughts (e.g., water price, water markets, technologies, user-based reallocation, etc.), resiliency, adaptation to climate change, scarcity, and droughts. There is a need to enhance institutions in charge of allocation and re-allocation of resources when temporal (drought) or structural over-allocation arises.

Articles submitted to this Special Issue should address institutional policy tools to manage scarcity of water resources such as water pricing (as an instrument for re-allocation), water rights trade, water banks, water banking, user-based allocation, drought management plants, water use efficiency, desalination, and water reuse. The issue invites economists, social science experts, natural scientists, and engineers. Papers should deal with the conflicts and trade-offs between uses in scarcity context and the technical, economic, and institutional solutions available. Both conceptual/methodological and applied research papers are welcome.

Prof. Dr. Julio Berbel
Dr. Nazaret MONTILLA-LÓPEZ
Dr. Giaccomo GIANNOCCARO
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Water is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • water scarcity
  • droughts
  • water policy
  • water allocation
  • water management
  • water conflict
  • water reuse
  • water use efficiency
  • desalination

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Institutions and Economics of Water Scarcity and Droughts
Water 2020, 12(11), 3248; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12113248 - 19 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 487
Abstract
Integrated water resources management seeks an efficient blend of all water resources (e [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Institutions and Economics of Water Scarcity and Droughts)

Research

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Article
Analysis of Barriers and Opportunities for Reclaimed Wastewater Use for Agriculture in Europe
Water 2020, 12(8), 2308; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12082308 - 17 Aug 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1130
Abstract
This paper presents an analysis of the perception regarding reclaimed wastewater reuse in agriculture conducted in the European Union regions. The analysis is based upon a SWOT framework and applies a cluster analysis to reduce the dimension of the responses enabling an assessment [...] Read more.
This paper presents an analysis of the perception regarding reclaimed wastewater reuse in agriculture conducted in the European Union regions. The analysis is based upon a SWOT framework and applies a cluster analysis to reduce the dimension of the responses enabling an assessment of the different perceptions of water reuse. More than one hundred key actors identified among the regions participated in the evaluation of the relevance of aspects identified. The results indicate some groups of countries according to natural conditions (water scarcity) and the strategic role of agriculture as a key factor to determine agent’s perceptions and attitudes. The results indicate that the forthcoming EU regulation of water reuse should focus in the problems of the perceived high cost of reclaimed water for farmers and the sanitary risk perception for irrigated crops by consumers as the critical points for fostering the use of reclaimed water in agriculture and the need for regional implementation of the global regulatory framework. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Institutions and Economics of Water Scarcity and Droughts)
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Article
Understanding the Key Factors That Influence Efficient Water-Saving Practices among Tourists: A Mediterranean Case Study
Water 2020, 12(8), 2083; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12082083 - 22 Jul 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 861
Abstract
The future of tourism activity is dependent on its ability to adapt to the effects of climate change. One of the most notable effects in the Mediterranean area will be water shortages in a scenario marked by increasing demand for this resource. While [...] Read more.
The future of tourism activity is dependent on its ability to adapt to the effects of climate change. One of the most notable effects in the Mediterranean area will be water shortages in a scenario marked by increasing demand for this resource. While this situation will affect numerous economic sectors, it will have a severe impact on the tourism industry, which relies heavily on water. The aim of this study was to analyze water-saving practices among guests at campsites, hotels, and rural lodgings in the Muga river basin and investigate the factors that influence these practices. We conducted 752 surveys and found that differences in practices were influenced by reason for stay, type of accommodation, and geographic origin. A greater understanding of how sociodemographic and motivational characteristics influence water-saving behavior by guests at different types of tourist accommodation is essential for designing targeted strategies for improving environmental awareness and water-saving habits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Institutions and Economics of Water Scarcity and Droughts)
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Article
A Simplified Hydro-Economic Model of Guadalquivir River Basin for Analysis of Water-Pricing Scenarios
Water 2020, 12(7), 1879; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12071879 - 01 Jul 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 899
Abstract
This study describes an economic model in the Guadalquivir river basin (Southern Spain) that considers inter-sectoral and hydrological effects of changes in water use as a response to various water-pricing policy scenarios. The main economic variables include water use, gross regional product, return [...] Read more.
This study describes an economic model in the Guadalquivir river basin (Southern Spain) that considers inter-sectoral and hydrological effects of changes in water use as a response to various water-pricing policy scenarios. The main economic variables include water use, gross regional product, return flows in the river basin, and employment at sectoral and basin levels. The response of the different sectors to water pricing and of the sectoral productivity is derived from official data. The background of the model is based on previous research for the implementation of the UN System of Environmental-Economic Accounts and on the application of this framework to the Guadalquivir basin. Results based on the elicited curves illustrate that the structure of the demand function for irrigated agriculture passes from inelastic to elastic sections, while the function corresponding to the remaining economic sectors shows a continuous decreasing function with minor change in the elasticity structure of the curve. Results show that the impact of extreme measures of water pricing reduces water abstraction by up to 42% vs. the baseline scenario, with an economic reduction in regional Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 1%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Institutions and Economics of Water Scarcity and Droughts)
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Article
Measuring the Transaction Costs of Historical Shifts to Informal Drought Management Institutions in Italy
Water 2020, 12(7), 1866; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12071866 - 29 Jun 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 834
Abstract
Coase shows how costly resources are (re)allocated via costly institutions, and that transaction costs must therefore be positive. However, Coase did not elaborate on transitions between institutions which incur positive transaction costs that are characterized by numerous institutional complementarities; that is, feedback loops [...] Read more.
Coase shows how costly resources are (re)allocated via costly institutions, and that transaction costs must therefore be positive. However, Coase did not elaborate on transitions between institutions which incur positive transaction costs that are characterized by numerous institutional complementarities; that is, feedback loops that inform the need for, and pathways toward, institutional change. Economic investigations of complementary modes of (re)allocation are rarely undertaken, let alone studies of transitions between modes. However, modes of (re)allocation that achieve similar results at less cost are generally viewed as having production-raising value. This paper measures the costs of transitioning drought management institutions in Italy toward informal, participatory, and consensus-based approaches during several recent drought events. The chosen model is Drought Steering Committees, which offer a substitute for current formal (less flexible) planning approaches, and where lower transaction costs that are associated with the transition are inferred. Our results highlight the relevance of empirical assessments of ‘costly’ transitions based on a historical study of transaction costs, as well as supporting previous works that highlight the value of contextual analysis in economic studies, in order to identify the benefits of institutional investment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Institutions and Economics of Water Scarcity and Droughts)
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Article
Agricultural Water Allocation under Cyclical Scarcity: The Role of Priority Water Rights
Water 2020, 12(6), 1835; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12061835 - 26 Jun 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 916
Abstract
Water is becoming an increasingly scarce resource worldwide, suggesting that water rationing methods should be revised to improve water allocation efficiency, especially during cyclical scarcity events (droughts). The proportional rule is the most widely used rationing method to allocate water in cases of [...] Read more.
Water is becoming an increasingly scarce resource worldwide, suggesting that water rationing methods should be revised to improve water allocation efficiency, especially during cyclical scarcity events (droughts). The proportional rule is the most widely used rationing method to allocate water in cases of water scarcity. However, this method fails to achieve Pareto-efficient allocation arrangements. Economic theory and international experience demonstrate that implementing security-differentiated water rights could improve allocative efficiency during cyclical scarcity periods. Moreover, it has been proven that this kind of priority rights regime is an efficient instrument to share risks related to water supply reliability, and can thus be considered as an adaptation measure to climate change. This evidence has enabled the development of an operational proposal for the implementation of security-differentiated water rights in the irrigation sector in Spain, as an alternative to the current rights based on the proportional rule. This proposal draws on the Australian case study, which is the most successful experience worldwide. Nevertheless, the insights obtained from the analysis performed and the proposal for reforming the water rights regime are applicable to any country with a mature water economy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Institutions and Economics of Water Scarcity and Droughts)
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Article
Water Supply Delivery Failures—A Scenario-Based Approach to Assess Economic Losses and Risk Reduction Options
Water 2020, 12(6), 1746; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12061746 - 19 Jun 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 674
Abstract
Access to a reliable water supply is central for a well-functioning society. However, water supply systems are subject to a wide range of threats which may affect their ability to provide water to society. This paper presents a novel risk assessment approach that [...] Read more.
Access to a reliable water supply is central for a well-functioning society. However, water supply systems are subject to a wide range of threats which may affect their ability to provide water to society. This paper presents a novel risk assessment approach that enables thorough analyses of economic losses and associated uncertainties under a range of water supply disruption scenarios. The purpose is to avoid sub-optimization when prioritizing between risk reduction measures, by integrating the full range of possible outcomes from low to high probability events. By combining risk analysis with cost-benefit analysis, additional information is provided on measures for leveraging investments in managing and reducing the risks. This enables the identification of the most economically profitable risk reduction alternatives and enables decision makers to build strategic capacity for operating in difficult and uncertain futures. The presented approach is exemplified on the island of Gotland, one of the most water scarce areas of Sweden. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Institutions and Economics of Water Scarcity and Droughts)
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Article
Insuring Water Supply in Irrigated Agriculture: A Proposal for Hydrological Drought Index-Based Insurance in Spain
Water 2019, 11(4), 686; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11040686 - 03 Apr 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1076
Abstract
In Mediterranean-climate regions, irrigated agriculture is especially vulnerable to the risk of hydrological drought and irrigators are particularly concerned about its negative effects. During a hydrological drought episode, irrigators receive insufficient water to meet their crops’ water needs, giving rise to the so-called [...] Read more.
In Mediterranean-climate regions, irrigated agriculture is especially vulnerable to the risk of hydrological drought and irrigators are particularly concerned about its negative effects. During a hydrological drought episode, irrigators receive insufficient water to meet their crops’ water needs, giving rise to the so-called ‘water supply gap’. In such circumstances, agricultural production and irrigators’ incomes are considerably reduced. In order to minimize the negative effects associated with water supply gaps, a new index-based drought insurance scheme for irrigation is proposed, linked to the variable ‘stock of water available in reservoirs’. The proposal, although tailored to Spain, could be easily adapted to other countries or regions because the features of hydrological drought risk are similar worldwide. It is expected that the proposed scheme will improve drought risk management in irrigated agriculture, stabilizing irrigators’ incomes and guaranteeing the sustainability of irrigated agriculture in the face of global change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Institutions and Economics of Water Scarcity and Droughts)
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Article
Analysis of the Dynamic Changes of the Baiyangdian Lake Surface Based on a Complex Water Extraction Method
Water 2018, 10(11), 1616; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10111616 - 09 Nov 2018
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 2003
Abstract
Lakes have an important role in human life and the ecological environment, but they are easily affected by human activity and climate change, especially around urban areas. Hence, it is critical to extract water with a high precision method and monitor long-term sequence [...] Read more.
Lakes have an important role in human life and the ecological environment, but they are easily affected by human activity and climate change, especially around urban areas. Hence, it is critical to extract water with a high precision method and monitor long-term sequence dynamic changes in lakes. As the greatest natural lake of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, Baiyangdian Lake has a significant function in human life, socio-economic development, and regional ecological balance. This lake area has shown large changes due to human activity and climate change. The change monitoring process of the water surface is of great significance in providing support for the management and protection of the lake. The Spectrum Matching based on Discrete Particle Swarm Optimization (SMDPSO) method is a new, robust, and low-cost method for water extraction, that has obvious advantages in extracting complex water surfaces. In this paper, the SMDPSO method was used to extract the water surface of Baiyangdian Lake by Landsat images from 1984 to 2018. This method has a good effect on complex water surface extraction with vegetation, shadows, and so forth, and the Landsat images have higher resolution and longer time series. The main contents and results of this paper are as follows: (1) We verified the applicability of the SMDPSO method in the Baiyangdian Lake using visual interpretation and correlation analysis. The relative errors between observed and extracted results were all less than 5% in spring, summer, and fall, and the correlation coefficient between the water area and water level was 0.96. (2) According to seasonal verification and comparison of the extraction results, the SMDPSO method was used to extract the water surface area of Baiyangdian Lake during spring of the years 1984–2018. Water area changes of Baiyangdian Lake can be divided into four periods: Dry period (1984–1988), degraded period (1989–2000), stable period (2000–2008), and recovery period (2008–2018). The water area reached a maximum of 280 km2 in 1989 and a minimum of 44 km2 in 2002. (3) The possible causes of the changes in the water area of Baiyangdian Lake were also analyzed. The changes were caused by climate and human activities during the first and second periods, but mainly human activities during the third and fourth periods. In fact, effective policies combined with water conservancy projects were directly conducive to improving or even recovering the water and ecological environment of Baiyangdian Lake. Considering its importance for the benign development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Region and the construction of the Xiong’an New Area, a policy is necessary to ensure that the lake’s ecological environment will not be destroyed under the premise of economic development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Institutions and Economics of Water Scarcity and Droughts)
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Review

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Review
Hydro-Economic Modelling for Water-Policy Assessment Under Climate Change at a River Basin Scale: A Review
Water 2020, 12(6), 1559; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12061559 - 29 May 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1145
Abstract
Hydro-economic models (HEMs) constitute useful instruments to assess water-resource management and inform water policy. In the last decade, HEMs have achieved significant advances regarding the assessment of the impacts of water-policy instruments at a river basin or catchment level in the context of [...] Read more.
Hydro-economic models (HEMs) constitute useful instruments to assess water-resource management and inform water policy. In the last decade, HEMs have achieved significant advances regarding the assessment of the impacts of water-policy instruments at a river basin or catchment level in the context of climate change (CC). This paper offers an overview of the alternative approaches used in river-basin hydro-economic modelling to address water-resource management issues and CC during the past decade. Additionally, it analyses how uncertainty and risk factors of global CC have been treated in recent HEMs, offering a discussion on these last advances. As the main conclusion, current challenges in the realm of hydro-economic modelling include the representation of the food-energy-water nexus, the successful representation of micro-macro linkages and feedback loops between the socio-economic model components and the physical side, and the treatment of CC uncertainties and risks in the analysis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Institutions and Economics of Water Scarcity and Droughts)
Review
Water Markets in the Western United States: Trends and Opportunities
Water 2020, 12(1), 233; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12010233 - 14 Jan 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2110
Abstract
Efforts to address water scarcity have traditionally relied on changing the spatial and temporal availability of water through water importation, storage, and conveyance. More recently, water managers have invested heavily in improving water use efficiency and conservation. Yet as new supply options become [...] Read more.
Efforts to address water scarcity have traditionally relied on changing the spatial and temporal availability of water through water importation, storage, and conveyance. More recently, water managers have invested heavily in improving water use efficiency and conservation. Yet as new supply options become harder to find and/or appropriate, and demand hardens, society must consider other options to, if not reduce scarcity, minimize the impacts of such scarcity. This paper explores the role water markets are playing in addressing water scarcity in the American southwest: a water-limited arid and semi-arid region characterized by significant population growth rates relative to the rest of the US. Focusing on three representative southwestern states—Arizona, California, and Texas—we begin by highlighting how trends in water supply allocations from different water sources (e.g., surface water, groundwater, and wastewater) and water demand by different water users (e.g., agricultural, municipal, and environmental) have changed over time within each state. We then present recent data that shows how water trading has changed over time—in terms of value and volume—both at state level and sector level aggregates. We end with a discussion regarding some institutional adjustments that are necessary for water markets to achieve their potential in helping society address water scarcity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Institutions and Economics of Water Scarcity and Droughts)
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