28 Dec 2009

Water Markets and Ecosystem Services

I mentioned this paper 9 months ago, but I was told to take a second look, and I am glad that I did:

Abstract: ...This paper develops a conceptual framework to examine factors enabling and constraining successful policy reform and implementation in market-based environmental water allocation... Two case studies were selected in water stressed basins – the Columbia (U.S.A) and Murray-Darling (Australia) Basins – where transactional approaches to environmental water allocation first emerged... A common set of policy and regulatory reforms has occurred in both cases – albeit in different forms and via distinct paths – to develop three enabling conditions: (1) establishment of rights to and limits on freshwater extraction and alteration; (2) recognition of the environment as a legitimate water use; and (3) authority to transfer existing water rights to an environmental purpose. However, these elements of policy reform are necessary but not sufficient for effective implementation; a second set of driving forces, barriers, and adaptations explains the ability to achieve larger scale ecological outcomes. These conditions include the physical, social and economic factors driving demand for environmental water allocation; administrative procedures, organizational development and institutional capacity to effect transfers; and adaptive mechanisms to overcome legal, cultural, economic, and environmental barriers....

Bottom Line If you are interested in using markets to save the environment, read this paper [pdf]

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