Aquanomics: Water Markets and the Environment

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B. Delworth Gardner, Randy T. Simmons
Transaction Publishers, Aug 14, 2012 - Business & Economics - 456 pages
Water is becoming increasingly scarce. If recent usage trends continue, shortages are inevitable. Aquanomics discusses some of the instruments and policies that may be implemented to postpone, or even avoid, the onset of water crises. These policies include establishing secure and transferable private water rights and extending these rights to uses that traditionally have not been allowed, including altering in-stream flows and ecosystem functions. The editors argue that such policies will help maximize water quantity and quality as water becomes scarcer and more valuable. Aquanomics contains many examples of how this is being accomplished, particularly in the formation of water markets and market-like exchanges of water rights. Many observers see calamity ahead unless water supplies are harnessed and effectively conserved, and unless water quality can be improved. It is also clear that declining water quality is a serious problem in much of the world, as increasing human activities induce high levels of water degradation. Those who voice these concerns, argue the contributors to this volume, fail to consider the forces for improvement inherent in market political-economic systems that can address water issues. The contributors see water quality in economically advanced countries as improving, and they believe this establishes the validity of market-based approaches.


1 Introduction
2 Markets for Freshwater Ecosystem Services
Institutional Design and Performance
4 Buying Water for the Environment
5 Auctions of Water Rights
The Anticommons Perspective
An Obstacle to Water Marketing
Why It Matters and How to Make It Happen
9 The Economic Effects of Using Property Taxes in Lieu of Direct User Fees to Pay for Water
Making Informed Decisions to Remove Aging US Dams
11 The SacramentoSan Joaquin Delta and the Political Economy of California Water Allocation
Dealing with Diminishing Predictability in Los Angeles Water Sources
13 Dams Water Rights and Market Transfers in California
About the Authors

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About the author (2012)

B. Delworth Gardner is research fellow at the Independent Institute, emeritus professor of economics at Brigham Young University, and emeritus professor of agricultural economics at University of California, Davis. His books include Regional Growth and Water Resource Investment, Plowing Ground in Washington: The Political Economy of U.S. Agriculture, and Pricing and Efficient Allocation of Irrigation Water in California. Randy T. Simmons is the Charles G. Koch Professor of Economics and director of the Institute of Political Economy at Utah State University’s Jon M. Huntsman School of Business, research fellow at the Independent Institute, and mayor of Providence, Utah. Some of his books include The Political Economy of Culture and Norms: Informal Solutions to the Commons Problem and Re-Thinking Green: Alternatives to Environmental Bureaucracy.

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