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The economics of groundwater development and governance

Code: 9781838796273
T. Shah, International Water Management Institute (IWMI), India

Chapter synopsis: The last century has seen a dramatic increase in the demand for groundwater, first as a source of drinking water, and more recently for agricultural use in arid and semi-arid regions. This sudden surge in demand can be explained by several attractive properties of this resource: it is free, available on demand, suitable for precision irrigation and typically outlasts surface water stocks in times of drought. However, unregulated overdevelopment of this resource poses a threat to its sustainability. This chapter presents a number of different approaches to groundwater governance: the idea of a public monopoly, direct governance, a contingency approach and the possibility of collective action. Socioeconomic theory is used to evaluate the appropriateness of these approaches in different contexts. It is concluded that there is no universal method of governing groundwater economies; the appropriate approach will depend on both the nature of the society and the nature of the aquifer.

DOI: 10.19103/AS.2017.0037.05
Table of contents 1 Introduction 2 Textbook economics of aquifer development 3 Alternative approaches to groundwater governance 4 The possibility of collective action 5 Conclusion 6 Future trends 7 References

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