The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Search Google Appliance

Links

Performance of water policy reforms under scarcity conditions: A case study in Northeast Brazil

TitlePerformance of water policy reforms under scarcity conditions: A case study in Northeast Brazil
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsBrown C, Souza R.A.
JournalWater Policy
Volume11
Issue5
Date Published09/2009
KeywordsDrought management, Managing conflict, Negotiation, Water allocation, Water markets, Water pricing, Water scarcity
Abstract

Increasing demand for water amid variable hydrology and climate uncertainty challenges the traditional methods of allocating scarce water resources. Water markets are an oft-promoted allocation method but their adoption is limited. This paper evaluates the performance of policy alternatives to water markets in terms of economic efficiency using analytical models of allocation. Priority systems, pricing systems and negotiation are compared for varying levels of scarcity. The analysis finds that the performance of each system depends on the level of scarcity. In general, a priority-based system is best in the worst conditions, while negotiation is better otherwise. This finding is pertinent to water policy and drought management, as negotiation is often only used in the worst conditions and priority used at other times. These results imply the reverse should be true. The paper also shows the means for evaluating non-market allocation in economic terms.

DOI10.2166/wp.2009.141