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Routledge Handbook of Water Economics and Institutions

"This volume offers an extensive treatment of 'frontier' issues in water resource economics and policy, with contributions from the field's eminent scholars"

Growing scarcity of freshwater worldwide brings to light the need for sound water resource modeling and policy analysis. While a solid foundation has been established for many specific water management problems, combining those methods and principles in a unified framework remains an ongoing challenge. Editors Kimberly Burnett, Richard Howitt, James Roumasset and Christopher Wada aim to improve water management practice by formulating and applying a set of principles for efficient use over time and space, as well as integrating demand-management with supply-side substitutes. The Handbook consists of 23 chapters by internationally-established authors covering a wide variety of topics including private behavior and regulatory design, institutions and information, as well as water markets and institutions around the world.

To illuminate the alignment of private decision making with social efficiency in the real world, mechanisms for improving efficiency in agricultural and municipal settings are described and illustrated. Inasmuch as real-world management makes use of imperfect and/or costly information, standard conceptual frameworks are extended to allow for coordination costs, games and cooperation, and risk allocation. For example, while water markets are commonly touted for their efficiency-enhancing effects, early attempts at water trading have run into many obstacles. Case studies from the United States, Australia, Europe, and Canada highlight the successes and remaining challenges of establishing efficient water markets.

The Handbook provides numerous examples of both applied theoretical and empirical analysis to help guide the reader from problem conceptualization to application of sophisticated solution techniques. As such, it promises to be a valuable addition to water-management or environmental and resource economics courses, as well as an important resource for water managers and policymakers at the national, regional, or local levels.