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Special Issue "Water Economics and Policy"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2017)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Julio Berbel

Universidad de Córdoba
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +34957218457
Interests: agricultural and resource economics; water management; water policy; multicriteria decision theory; environmental policy
Guest Editor
Dr. Carlos Gutiérrez-Martín

Department Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Policy, University of Cordoba, Campus de Rabanales, Ed. Gregor Mendel, E-14014 Córdoba, Spain
Website | E-Mail
Interests: water economics; economic instrument for water policy; agricultural economics; multiattribute modelling in agriculture
Guest Editor
Dr. Julia Martin-Ortega

Sustainability Research Institute, School of Earth and Envirnonment, University of Leeds, LS2 9TJ, Leeds, UK
Website | E-Mail
Interests: water ecosystem services; envrionmental valuation; interdisciplinarity; water policy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The objective of this Special Issue is to improve knowledge on the use of economic instruments for water policy and evaluation of the impact of water policy implementation. Contributions will be of great value for environmental agencies, administrators and regulators, and will benefit society as a whole by means of identifying ways of maximizing social utility of water resources allocation and mechanisms to implement economic instruments and methodologies. Discussion will be faciliated regarding water policies tackling drought, climatic change and overextraction in most of the arid regions of the world, such as the revision of the EU Water Framework Directive planned for 2019.

Dr. Julio Berbel
Dr. Carlos Gutiérrez-Martín
Dr. Julia Martin-Ortega
Guest Editors

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 monthly 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 1600 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

  • economic analysis of water use and scenarios of climatic change
  • cost recovery, water pricing, environmental and resource cost and environmental taxation, finances of water policy
  • wider economic impacts: economic growth, innovation and market and job creation generation
  • CBA (Cost-benefit analysis)
  • CEA (Cost-effectiveness analysis)
  • Water Energy Food Nexus
  • water markets
  • insurance

Published Papers (23 papers)

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Editorial

Jump to: Research, Review

Open AccessFeature PaperEditorial
Water Economics and Policy
Water 2017, 9(10), 801; https://doi.org/10.3390/w9100801
Received: 12 September 2017 / Revised: 12 October 2017 / Accepted: 12 October 2017 / Published: 18 October 2017
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Abstract
Economics plays a double role in the field of water management, firstly as a powerful analytical tool supporting water allocation and policy decisions, and secondly in the form of policy instruments (water pricing, markets, etc.). This Special Issue presents a platform for sharing [...] Read more.
Economics plays a double role in the field of water management, firstly as a powerful analytical tool supporting water allocation and policy decisions, and secondly in the form of policy instruments (water pricing, markets, etc.). This Special Issue presents a platform for sharing results connecting excellent interdisciplinary research applied to different regional and sectoral problems around the world. The 22 peer-reviewed papers collected in this Special Issue have been grouped into five broad categories: Water valuation and accounting; Economic instruments; Cost effectiveness and cost-benefit analysis; and Water productivity and Governance. They are briefly presented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Economics and Policy)

Research

Jump to: Editorial, Review

Open AccessArticle
Modelling Crop Pattern Changes and Water Resources Exploitation: A Case Study
Water 2017, 9(9), 685; https://doi.org/10.3390/w9090685
Received: 29 June 2017 / Revised: 31 August 2017 / Accepted: 6 September 2017 / Published: 8 September 2017
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (2473 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Agriculture and farming worldwide are responsible for numerous environmental threats, including degradation of land and water resource depletion. Underlining the dynamic interaction between bio-physical and socio-economic drivers is the key towards a more sustainable land and water management. With regard to a highly-developed [...] Read more.
Agriculture and farming worldwide are responsible for numerous environmental threats, including degradation of land and water resource depletion. Underlining the dynamic interaction between bio-physical and socio-economic drivers is the key towards a more sustainable land and water management. With regard to a highly-developed agricultural area in Southern Italy, multi-regression models were developed to provide an ex-post interpretation of the observed inter-annual variability of cropped land. The main drivers related to Common Agricultural Policy support, product market prices, crop yield, and irrigation water availability were investigated. The adopted models revealed the different weights of each driver. The findings reported the role that direct payments played in supporting the extension of irrigated crops, such as processing tomato. Likewise, the models pointed out the decoupled payment scheme as the most important driver of change in the crop pattern over the last years. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Economics and Policy)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
River Water Quality: Who Cares, How Much and Why?
Water 2017, 9(8), 621; https://doi.org/10.3390/w9080621
Received: 2 August 2017 / Revised: 15 August 2017 / Accepted: 17 August 2017 / Published: 19 August 2017
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1429 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
An important motivation for the implementation of the Water Framework Directive is the creation of non-market environmental benefits, such as improved ecological quality, or greater opportunities for open-access river recreation via microbial pollution remediation. Pollution sources impacting on ecological or recreational water quality [...] Read more.
An important motivation for the implementation of the Water Framework Directive is the creation of non-market environmental benefits, such as improved ecological quality, or greater opportunities for open-access river recreation via microbial pollution remediation. Pollution sources impacting on ecological or recreational water quality may be uncorrelated, but non-market benefits arising from riverine improvements are typically conflated within benefit valuation studies. Using stated preference choice experiments embedded within a survey that also collected respondents’ socio-economic characteristics, we aimed to disaggregate these sources of value for different river users, thereby allowing decision makers to understand the consequences of adopting alternative investment strategies. Our results suggested that anglers derived greater value from improvements to the ecological quality of river water, in contrast to swimmers and rowers, for whom greater value is gained from improvements to recreational quality. More generally, we found three distinct groups of respondents: a majority preferring ecological over recreational improvements, a substantial minority holding opposing preference orderings, and a yet smaller proportion expressing relatively low values for either form of river quality enhancement. As such, this research demonstrates that the non-market benefits that may accrue from different types of water quality improvements are nuanced in terms of their potential beneficiaries and, by inference, their overall value and policy implications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Economics and Policy)
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Open AccessArticle
A Method of Evaluating Water Resource Assets and Liabilities: A Case Study of Jinan City, Shandong Province
Water 2017, 9(8), 575; https://doi.org/10.3390/w9080575
Received: 18 June 2017 / Revised: 28 July 2017 / Accepted: 31 July 2017 / Published: 1 August 2017
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1012 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The traditional concepts of water resource development and utilization have caused serious hydrological and environmental issues in some regions. In addition, policy issues in China have led to a severe water crisis. The quantitative accounting of water resources is a theoretical approach to [...] Read more.
The traditional concepts of water resource development and utilization have caused serious hydrological and environmental issues in some regions. In addition, policy issues in China have led to a severe water crisis. The quantitative accounting of water resources is a theoretical approach to solving these problems. In this paper, 13 indicators were selected from four classes, including resources, the environment, society, and efficiency, and a case study of Jinan, Shandong Province, was performed using a set pair analysis model to calculate the water resource assets from 2011–2015. In previous methods of water resource accounting, the water quality was not considered; therefore, the loss coefficient of water resource assets was proposed to improve the reliability of accounting. According to the relationships among the unit price of water, water quantity, and water quality, physical and quantitative accounting methods were used to create water balance sheets from 2011–2015. The calculation results showed that the physical change in water resource assets in Jinan City was −30 million m 3 , and water resource assets initially increased and then decreased. In 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015, water resource assets totalled 36.5 million USD, 45.9 million USD, 66.7 million USD, 35.5 million USD, and 37.5 million USD, respectively (at 6.4588, 6.3125, 6.1932, 6.2166, 6.2284 USRMB, respectively). This initial accounting provides quantitative and physical support for the improved management of water resources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Economics and Policy)
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Open AccessArticle
Valuation of Hidden Water Ecosystem Services: The Replacement Cost of the Aquifer System in Central Mexico
Water 2017, 9(8), 571; https://doi.org/10.3390/w9080571
Received: 29 April 2017 / Revised: 7 July 2017 / Accepted: 21 July 2017 / Published: 31 July 2017
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1548 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
This paper reports research estimating the costs of replacing the groundwater that the metropolitan areas of Mexico City, Toluca, and Cuernavaca, in Central Mexico, pump from 10 over-exploited aquifers with 6 supply alternatives of surface water. These aquifers provide about 70% of the [...] Read more.
This paper reports research estimating the costs of replacing the groundwater that the metropolitan areas of Mexico City, Toluca, and Cuernavaca, in Central Mexico, pump from 10 over-exploited aquifers with 6 supply alternatives of surface water. These aquifers provide about 70% of the water required by more than 28 million people, and their recharge zones in forested areas are increasingly threatened by economic activities. By designing a constrained optimization program that minimizes investment and operation costs, we found that replacing groundwater extraction involves the construction of all six alternatives at an estimated cost of US$25 billion at present values (US$0.6 m−3 over a 26-year period). We designed and analyzed a scenario to combine measures to reduce water leaks in Mexico City; a positive balance was found: every dollar invested in leak control reduces replacement costs by between US$1.9 and US$8.4. Therefore, our results suggest the prioritization of leak control measures in order to reduce extraction from over-exploited aquifers. Local authorities should be warned about the economics of losing ecosystem services that are crucial to sustaining the population and the economic activities in the region of study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Economics and Policy)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Accounting for the Assimilative Capacity of Water Systems in Scotland
Water 2017, 9(8), 559; https://doi.org/10.3390/w9080559
Received: 16 June 2017 / Revised: 13 July 2017 / Accepted: 21 July 2017 / Published: 26 July 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (6335 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A key methodological challenge in understanding the relationship between the economy and the underlying ecosystem base resides in how to account for the ecosystem’s degradation and the decline of associated ecosystem services. In this study, we use information on nutrients and metals concentrations [...] Read more.
A key methodological challenge in understanding the relationship between the economy and the underlying ecosystem base resides in how to account for the ecosystem’s degradation and the decline of associated ecosystem services. In this study, we use information on nutrients and metals concentrations from the Environmental Change Network (ECN) database and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) for the period 2000–2010 in order to assess the assimilation capacity of water systems. The research covers five upstream sites and 17 downstream sites in northeast Scotland. Our results highlight the relevance of considering a number of pollutants, and suggest that elements such as arsenic, lead and mercury can pose a threat to ecosystems’ sustainability and health. However, little research has been done in terms of their assimilation capacity and their impact on grey water footprint assessments. In addition, the results indicate that background conditions might be relevant when performing sustainability analysis at different spatial scales. The study also poses relevant questions in relation to land management approaches versus traditional ‘end-of-pipe’ water treatment approaches, and the definition of maximum and background concentrations. In this regard, further studies will be required to understand the trade-offs between different ecosystem services depending on how these concentrations are defined. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Economics and Policy)
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Open AccessArticle
Is the Achievement of “Good Status” for German Surface Waters Disproportionately Expensive?—Comparing Two Approaches to Assess Disproportionately High Costs in the Context of the European Water Framework Directive
Water 2017, 9(8), 554; https://doi.org/10.3390/w9080554
Received: 20 June 2017 / Revised: 13 July 2017 / Accepted: 17 July 2017 / Published: 25 July 2017
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (472 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Currently only 8.2% of German surface water bodies have reached the goal of the European Water Framework Directive to bring all water into a “good status”. For all water bodies that presumably will not achieve the objective by 2027, the member states have [...] Read more.
Currently only 8.2% of German surface water bodies have reached the goal of the European Water Framework Directive to bring all water into a “good status”. For all water bodies that presumably will not achieve the objective by 2027, the member states have to justify an exemption by 2021, for example, by arguing that the costs of achieving “good status“ would be “disproportionately high”. In this paper, two approaches for assessing cost-disproportionality of surface water bodies are empirically tested and compared on a set of real-world data from a German federal state. In the first approach, called average cost approach, costs are considered as being disproportionately high if they are significantly higher than what would be a “relatively normal effort”. The core idea of the second, the benchmark approach, is to take the past public expenditures on water management as a basis for comparison. Both approaches include generated utility for determination of a water-body-specific disproportionality threshold. While the benchmarking approach needs less data, the empirical tests indicate that both approaches yield comparable results and are suitable to support authorities in the decision as to which water bodies are to be considered disproportionately expensive such that exemptions are justified. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Economics and Policy)
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Open AccessArticle
Using Ostrom’s DPs as Fuzzy Sets to Analyse How Water Policies Challenge Community-Based Water Governance in Colombia
Water 2017, 9(7), 535; https://doi.org/10.3390/w9070535
Received: 16 May 2017 / Revised: 2 July 2017 / Accepted: 13 July 2017 / Published: 18 July 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1226 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Ostrom’s design principles have been broadly used to analyse the governance of common pool resources. However, they are normally assessed as present or absent. We challenge this assumption by considering them as fuzzy sets where membership scores range from 0 to 1, because, [...] Read more.
Ostrom’s design principles have been broadly used to analyse the governance of common pool resources. However, they are normally assessed as present or absent. We challenge this assumption by considering them as fuzzy sets where membership scores range from 0 to 1, because, in real situations, the design principles can be present at a certain level. We define categories to assess the level of membership and apply it to a single case study analysing how changes in water policy can affect the community-based management of the Water User Association of Mondomo (Colombia). In rural areas of Colombia, most water and sanitation services are provided by water user associations, wherein civil society has developed governance systems based on active citizen involvement and community-based management. Some of these associations have been operating for decades and are essential pillars of the local social fabric. However, recent changes in the country’s policy and legal framework threaten these long-lasting governance systems. The results show that most of the design principles would suffer important changes that undermine the governance system. Essential principles for sustainable community-based governance, such as the congruence of the rules with local conditions, the local monitoring and sanctioning capacities, the internal conflict-resolution mechanisms and the recognition of the rights to organize, are dramatically reduced after the policy implementation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Economics and Policy)
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Open AccessArticle
The Limits of Water Pricing in a Developing Country Metropolis: Empirical Lessons from an Industrial City of Pakistan
Water 2017, 9(7), 533; https://doi.org/10.3390/w9070533
Received: 10 May 2017 / Revised: 9 July 2017 / Accepted: 14 July 2017 / Published: 18 July 2017
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1663 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper seeks to question the effectiveness of water pricing as a means of consumer behavioural change in urban centres of the Global South by analysing the domestic usage for water in a major industrial city of Pakistan. Using survey data of 1100 [...] Read more.
This paper seeks to question the effectiveness of water pricing as a means of consumer behavioural change in urban centres of the Global South by analysing the domestic usage for water in a major industrial city of Pakistan. Using survey data of 1100 households from Faisalabad city, we estimate the price and income elasticities of water demand. Instrumental variable methods are applied to overcome the endogeneity issues of water pricing. The findings reflect that price and income elasticities vary across different groups. Price elasticities range from −0.43 to −0.71, and income elasticities vary between 0.01 and 0.12. These findings suggest that pricing policies may have limited scope to drive households’ water consumption patterns. However, these empirics may suggest that policy makers should design an appropriate tariff structure to increase revenues that can be invested to further improve the existing water infrastructure. The study findings also suggest that non-pricing instruments, such as water saving campaigns, may be helpful in driving an efficient use of water in rapidly growing cities in the developing world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Economics and Policy)
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Open AccessArticle
Do Consumers of Environmentally Friendly Farming Products in Downstream Areas Have a WTP for Water Quality Protection in Upstream Areas?
Water 2017, 9(7), 511; https://doi.org/10.3390/w9070511
Received: 23 February 2017 / Revised: 30 June 2017 / Accepted: 4 July 2017 / Published: 12 July 2017
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (290 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
In South Korea, the Soyang Lake is an important source of drinking water to the metropolitan areas including Seoul. However, water quality problems in the Soyang Lake have still remained due to chemical contaminations attributed to conventional farming practices in the upstream areas. [...] Read more.
In South Korea, the Soyang Lake is an important source of drinking water to the metropolitan areas including Seoul. However, water quality problems in the Soyang Lake have still remained due to chemical contaminations attributed to conventional farming practices in the upstream areas. Based on a downstream consumer survey using a contingent valuation method, this study estimated the expected willingness to pays (WTPs) for water quality improvement through the conversion to environmentally friendly farming (EFF). The results showed that the estimated annual mean WTP is KRW 36,115 per household. The aggregated WTPs of downstream respondents in the Soyang Lake are sufficient to compensate for the income losses of upstream EFF farmers in highland farming areas. In addition, we found that the downstream citizens who recognize the label for EFF products and who intend to purchase EFF products in the future have a significant impact on WTPs for water quality improvement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Economics and Policy)
Open AccessArticle
Cost-Benefit Analysis of the Managed Aquifer Recharge System for Irrigation under Climate Change Conditions in Southern Spain
Water 2017, 9(5), 343; https://doi.org/10.3390/w9050343
Received: 24 March 2017 / Revised: 4 May 2017 / Accepted: 9 May 2017 / Published: 12 May 2017
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1154 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Droughts and climate change in regions with profitable irrigated agriculture will impact groundwater resources with associated direct and indirect impacts. In the integrated water resource management (IWRM), managed aquifer recharge (MAR) offers efficient solutions to protect, conserve, and ensure survival of aquifers and [...] Read more.
Droughts and climate change in regions with profitable irrigated agriculture will impact groundwater resources with associated direct and indirect impacts. In the integrated water resource management (IWRM), managed aquifer recharge (MAR) offers efficient solutions to protect, conserve, and ensure survival of aquifers and associated ecosystems, as the Water Framework Directive requires. The purpose of this paper is to analyse the socio-economic feasibility of the MAR system in the overexploited Boquerón aquifer in Hellín (Albacete, Spain) under climate change and varying irrigation demand conditions. To assess, in monetary terms, the profitability of the MAR system, a cost-benefit analysis (CBA) has been carried out. The results for the period 2020–2050 showed that the most favourable situations would be scenarios involving artificial recharge, in which future irrigation demand remains at the present level or falls below 10% of the current irrigation surface, as these scenarios generated an internal rate of return of between 53% and 57%. Additionally, the regeneration of the habitat will take between 5 and 9 years. Thus, the IWRM with artificial recharge will guarantee the sustainability of irrigation of the agricultural lands of Hellín and will achieve water balance even in severe climate change conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Economics and Policy)
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Open AccessArticle
Hydropower Royalties: A Comparative Analysis of Major Producing Countries (China, Brazil, Canada and the United States)
Water 2017, 9(4), 287; https://doi.org/10.3390/w9040287
Received: 18 January 2017 / Revised: 5 April 2017 / Accepted: 14 April 2017 / Published: 20 April 2017
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (254 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Hydropower is the leading renewable source of electricity generation and a low emission energy source. In order to be developed sustainably, it is important that its costs and benefits are adequately set and distributed. Different mechanisms, such as royalties, can be used for [...] Read more.
Hydropower is the leading renewable source of electricity generation and a low emission energy source. In order to be developed sustainably, it is important that its costs and benefits are adequately set and distributed. Different mechanisms, such as royalties, can be used for this purpose. Governments have usually kept hydropower royalty rates low, without internalizing negative externalities. This strategy is inefficient because it leads to larger electricity production and consumption, and hence exacerbates environmental impacts. This paper reviews the criteria proposed and used to set hydropower royalties. It also compares practices of the four main hydropower producers in the world: China, Brazil, Canada and the United States. Results show that royalty rates and distribution policies are determined in an arbitrary and unsystematic manner, but also that water use is usually undervalued. In order to encourage the development of this key renewable resource, in a sustainable and responsible way, national and international efforts should be made to rationalize and harmonize hydropower royalty rates. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Economics and Policy)
Open AccessArticle
Stakeholder Engagement and Knowledge Co-Creation in Water Planning: Can Public Participation Increase Cost-Effectiveness?
Water 2017, 9(3), 191; https://doi.org/10.3390/w9030191
Received: 4 January 2017 / Revised: 21 February 2017 / Accepted: 2 March 2017 / Published: 7 March 2017
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (8279 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In 2014, a radical shift took place in Danish water planning. Following years of a top-down water planning approach, 23 regional water councils were established to co-create and provide input to Danish authorities on the development of River Basin Management Plans (RBMP). The [...] Read more.
In 2014, a radical shift took place in Danish water planning. Following years of a top-down water planning approach, 23 regional water councils were established to co-create and provide input to Danish authorities on the development of River Basin Management Plans (RBMP). The water councils advised local authorities on the application of measures to improve the physical conditions in Danish streams within a given economic frame. The paper shows the difference the use of water councils (public participation) made by comparing the final water council proposal included in the 2015 RBMP to the RBMPs proposed by the central government (Nature Agency) in 2014. The study concludes that the measures proposed by the water councils will generally deliver better results than the proposed Nature Agency plans, which do not include the same level of participation. Specifically, the water councils with stakeholder involvement proposed a much longer network of streams (3800 km), yielding a better ecological outcome than the shorter stream network (1615 km) proposed by the Nature Agency for the same budget. Having a structured and fixed institutional frame around public participation (top-down meeting bottom-up) can produce cost-effective results, but the results show that cost-effectiveness was not the only deciding factor, and that local circumstances like the practicalities of implementing the measures were also considered when developing the Programmes of Measures. The findings suggest that the use of water councils in water planning has significant advantages, including the fact that the knowledge of local conditions helps to identify efficient solutions at lower costs, which can be useful for administrators, policy-makers, and other stakeholders implementing the Water Framework Directive in years to come. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Economics and Policy)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
The Economic Analysis of Water Use in the Water Framework Directive Based on the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting for Water: A Case Study of the Guadalquivir River Basin
Water 2017, 9(3), 180; https://doi.org/10.3390/w9030180
Received: 16 January 2017 / Revised: 21 February 2017 / Accepted: 26 February 2017 / Published: 2 March 2017
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (1787 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
This paper develops a methodology for the economic analysis of water use proposed by the Water Framework Directive (WFD) based on the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting for Water (SEEA-Water) standard tables. Our proposal satisfies the requirements for the economic characterization set out in [...] Read more.
This paper develops a methodology for the economic analysis of water use proposed by the Water Framework Directive (WFD) based on the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting for Water (SEEA-Water) standard tables. Our proposal satisfies the requirements for the economic characterization set out in Article 5 of the WFD. A case study in the Guadalquivir river basin shows a similar characterization in the baseline scenario to previous studies, including apparent water productivity. The main contribution of our research, however, is the proposal of a methodology that would enhance comparability and knowledge-sharing between regions, countries, and sectors both in the European Union and worldwide. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Economics and Policy)
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Open AccessArticle
Agricultural Irrigation Water Use in a Closed Basin and the Impacts on Water Productivity: The Case of the Guadalquivir River Basin (Southern Spain)
Water 2017, 9(2), 136; https://doi.org/10.3390/w9020136
Received: 15 November 2016 / Accepted: 13 February 2017 / Published: 20 February 2017
Cited by 14 | PDF Full-text (886 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper analyses the agricultural irrigation water use in a closed basin and the impacts on water productivity, and examines how they have affected the ‘closure’ process of the Guadalquivir river basin observed in recent decades. Following a period of expansion in irrigation, [...] Read more.
This paper analyses the agricultural irrigation water use in a closed basin and the impacts on water productivity, and examines how they have affected the ‘closure’ process of the Guadalquivir river basin observed in recent decades. Following a period of expansion in irrigation, an administrative moratorium was declared on new irrigated areas in 2005. Since then, the main policy measure has been aimed at the modernisation of irrigated agriculture and the implementation of water conservation technologies. The analysis carried out in this paper shows a significant increase in mean irrigation water productivity in the pre‐moratorium period (1989–2005), driven by the creation of new irrigated areas devoted to high value crops and with a dominant use of deficit irrigation strategies, while a second phase (2005–2012) is characterised by slower growth in terms of the mean productivity of irrigation water, primarily as a result of a significant reduction in water use per area. Findings show that productivity gains seem to have reached a ceiling in this river basin, since technological innovations (such as new crops, deficit irrigation, and water‐saving and conservation technologies) have reached the limits of their capacity to create new value. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Economics and Policy)
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Open AccessArticle
Decoupling Water Consumption and Environmental Impact on Textile Industry by Using Water Footprint Method: A Case Study in China
Water 2017, 9(2), 124; https://doi.org/10.3390/w9020124
Received: 23 November 2016 / Revised: 9 February 2017 / Accepted: 9 February 2017 / Published: 15 February 2017
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (642 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The rapid development of China’s textile industry has led to consumption and pollution of large volumes of water. Therefore, the textile industry has been the focus of water conservation and waste reduction in China’s 13th Five-Year Plan (2016–2020). The premise of sustainable development [...] Read more.
The rapid development of China’s textile industry has led to consumption and pollution of large volumes of water. Therefore, the textile industry has been the focus of water conservation and waste reduction in China’s 13th Five-Year Plan (2016–2020). The premise of sustainable development is to achieve decoupling of economic growth from water consumption and wastewater discharge. In this work, changes in the blue water footprint, grey water footprint, and the total water footprint of the textile industry from 2001 to 2014 were calculated. The relationship between water footprint and economic growth was then examined using the Tapio decoupling model. Furthermore, factors influencing water footprint were determined through logarithmic mean Divisia index (LMDI) method. Results show that the water footprint of China’s textile industry has strongly decoupled for five years (2003, 2006, 2008, 2011, and 2013) and weakly decoupled for four years (2005, 2007, 2009, and 2010). A decoupling trend occurred during 2001–2014, but a steady stage of decoupling had not been achieved yet. Based on the decomposition analysis, the total water footprint mainly increased along with the production scale. On the contrary, technical level is the most important factor in inhibiting the water footprint. In addition, the effect of industrial structure adjustment is relatively weak. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Economics and Policy)
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Open AccessArticle
Pricing Unmetered Irrigation Water under Asymmetric Information and Full Cost Recovery
Water 2016, 8(12), 596; https://doi.org/10.3390/w8120596
Received: 18 September 2016 / Revised: 3 December 2016 / Accepted: 9 December 2016 / Published: 15 December 2016
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1639 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The objective of this study is to define an efficient pricing scheme for irrigation water in conditions of unmetered water use. The study is based on a principal-agent model and identifies a menu of contracts, defined as a set of payments and share [...] Read more.
The objective of this study is to define an efficient pricing scheme for irrigation water in conditions of unmetered water use. The study is based on a principal-agent model and identifies a menu of contracts, defined as a set of payments and share of irrigated area, able to provide incentives for an efficient use of the resource by maximizing social welfare. The model is applied in the case study of the Çukas region (Albania) where irrigation water is not metered. The results demonstrate that using a menu of contracts makes it possible to define a second best solution that may improve the overall social welfare derived from irrigation water use compared with the existing pricing structure, though, in the specific case study, the improvement is small. Furthermore, the results also suggest that irrigation water pricing policy needs to take into account different farm types, and that appropriate contract-type pricing schemes have a potential role in providing incentives to farmers to make irrigation choices to the social optimum. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Economics and Policy)
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Open AccessArticle
Benefit Transfer for Water Management along the Han River in South Korea Using Meta-Regression Analysis
Water 2016, 8(11), 492; https://doi.org/10.3390/w8110492
Received: 19 June 2016 / Revised: 20 October 2016 / Accepted: 21 October 2016 / Published: 31 October 2016
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Abstract
This study estimates the magnitude of economic benefits that are justified in transfer from downstream users to upstream users for the use of the Han River in South Korea in terms of foregone economic benefits by regulations. Based on the existing non-market valuation [...] Read more.
This study estimates the magnitude of economic benefits that are justified in transfer from downstream users to upstream users for the use of the Han River in South Korea in terms of foregone economic benefits by regulations. Based on the existing non-market valuation studies associated with water management issues in South Korea from 1997 to 2014, a meta-regression analysis was performed to provide alternatives for regional benefit sharing of water resource use. The benefits from the use of water resource along the Han River are estimated on average to be KRW 7,728 (US $7.7) per household per month. The total net benefits are estimated to be about KRW 449 billion (US $449 million) per year. Following the principle regarding equal distribution of benefits, the stakeholders who received more net benefits than others should return their extra net benefits to other stakeholders through a policy tool such as tradable development rights. The results of our study provide economic indicators useful for the establishment of common resource policy and to consider stakeholders’ rights within the framework of regional benefits. This study also provides practical solutions that could be used as a valid policy instrument to mediate the conflicts and disputes associated with water resource use. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Economics and Policy)
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Open AccessArticle
Impacts of Off-Farm Employment on Irrigation Water Efficiency in North China
Water 2016, 8(10), 452; https://doi.org/10.3390/w8100452
Received: 2 August 2016 / Revised: 8 October 2016 / Accepted: 10 October 2016 / Published: 14 October 2016
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Abstract
This paper examines the impacts of off-farm employment on irrigation water efficiency (IWE) with a set of household level data collected in Hebei Province in North China. A major finding is that households with higher shares of laborers working off-farm locally seem to [...] Read more.
This paper examines the impacts of off-farm employment on irrigation water efficiency (IWE) with a set of household level data collected in Hebei Province in North China. A major finding is that households with higher shares of laborers working off-farm locally seem to achieve higher IWEs. The effect of local off-farm employment is greater among those households that have made more efforts to use furrow irrigation. We also find that households with higher shares of elderly laborers and those with larger land holding are associated with lower IWEs. Households with better soil quality and those that pump from deeper wells are associated with higher IWEs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Economics and Policy)
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Open AccessArticle
Discharge Fee Policy Analysis: A Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) Model of Water Resources and Water Environments
Water 2016, 8(9), 413; https://doi.org/10.3390/w8090413
Received: 4 June 2016 / Revised: 9 August 2016 / Accepted: 7 September 2016 / Published: 21 September 2016
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Abstract
To alleviate increasingly serious water pollution and shortages in developing countries, various kinds of policies have been implemented by local governments. It is vital to quantify and evaluate the performance and potential economic impacts of these policies. This study develops a Computable General [...] Read more.
To alleviate increasingly serious water pollution and shortages in developing countries, various kinds of policies have been implemented by local governments. It is vital to quantify and evaluate the performance and potential economic impacts of these policies. This study develops a Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) model to simulate the regional economic and environmental effects of discharge fees. Firstly, water resources and water environment factors are separated from the input and output sources of the National Economic Production Department. Secondly, an extended Social Accounting Matrix (SAM) of Jiangsu province is developed to simulate various scenarios. By changing values of the discharge fees (increased by 50%, 100% and 150%), three scenarios are simulated to examine their influence on the overall economy and each industry. The simulation results show that an increased fee will have a negative impact on Gross Domestic Product (GDP). However, waste water may be effectively controlled. Also, this study demonstrates that along with the economic costs, the increase of the discharge fee will lead to the upgrading of industrial structures from a situation of heavy pollution to one of light pollution which is beneficial to the sustainable development of the economy and the protection of the environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Economics and Policy)
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Open AccessArticle
Undermining European Environmental Policy Goals? The EU Water Framework Directive and the Politics of Exemptions
Water 2016, 8(9), 388; https://doi.org/10.3390/w8090388
Received: 27 June 2016 / Revised: 23 August 2016 / Accepted: 29 August 2016 / Published: 8 September 2016
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (228 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The Water Framework Directive (WFD) is the core legislative instrument in the European Union for the protection of water resources. Adopted in 2000, its objectives were to achieve “good status” for water bodies by 2015 and prevent any further deterioration. However, the European [...] Read more.
The Water Framework Directive (WFD) is the core legislative instrument in the European Union for the protection of water resources. Adopted in 2000, its objectives were to achieve “good status” for water bodies by 2015 and prevent any further deterioration. However, the European Commission and some stakeholders are rather dissatisfied with the implementation of the Directive so far, in particular with the use of exemptions to the environmental objectives. Exemptions are of paramount importance: they may constitute a significant obstacle to the achievement of the WFD’s objectives as they enable member states to lower the ambition of the Directive and to delay the achievement of good status, thereby undermining the environmental goal of the WFD. Critical voices observe an excessive reliance on exemptions, poor justifications, and great variations in their use. Based on an analysis of 120 policy documents and 15 semi-structured interviews, this article provides explanations for the politics of exemptions in EU water management. It shows that different viewpoints and interpretations on the WFD’s objectives and exemptions were already present in the negotiation phase of the Directive, but remained undefined on purpose. Moreover, dysfunctional decision-making procedures in the Common Implementation Strategy and the lack of political support in WFD implementation were significant obstacles to an agreement on this important issue. Finally, decisions on WFD implementation in member states were often driven by pragmatism. The article explains how the negotiations of the WFD and the EU-level discussion on the implementation of the Directive undermined environmental goals in EU governance; its findings are also relevant for policy fields other than water. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Economics and Policy)
Open AccessArticle
Impact Evaluation of Low Flow Showerheads for Hong Kong Residents
Water 2016, 8(7), 305; https://doi.org/10.3390/w8070305
Received: 1 June 2016 / Revised: 12 July 2016 / Accepted: 14 July 2016 / Published: 21 July 2016
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1100 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The voluntary Water Efficiency Labelling Scheme (WELS) on showers for bathing in Hong Kong is a water conservation initiative of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government. As shower water consumption has been identified as a potential area for carbon emissions reductions, [...] Read more.
The voluntary Water Efficiency Labelling Scheme (WELS) on showers for bathing in Hong Kong is a water conservation initiative of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government. As shower water consumption has been identified as a potential area for carbon emissions reductions, this study examines, from a five-month measurement survey of the showering practices of 37 local residents, a range of showerheads with resistance factors k = 0.54–4.05 kPa·min2·L−2 with showering attributes including hot shower temperature, temperature difference between hot and cold water supply, flow rate and water consumption and shower duration. A Monte Carlo model is proposed for evaluating the water consumption and carbon-reducing impacts of WELS on showers for bathing at confidence intervals with input parameters determined from the measurement survey. The simulation results indicate that full implementation of WELS rated showerheads with k ≥ 4.02 can reduce water consumption by 37%, energy use by 25% and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 26%. This study is also a useful source of reference for policymakers and practitioners to evaluate the impacts of water efficient showerheads on water consumption, energy use, and CO2 emissions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Economics and Policy)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Water Banks: What Have We Learnt from the International Experience?
Water 2016, 8(10), 466; https://doi.org/10.3390/w8100466
Received: 12 July 2016 / Revised: 10 October 2016 / Accepted: 11 October 2016 / Published: 18 October 2016
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (246 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Economics and Policy)
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