Tapping Water Markets
RFF Press – 2012 – 202 pages
Tapping Water Markets is about the past, present, and future of water markets. It compares water markets with political water allocation, documents the growth of water markets, and explores the ways in which water markets can be improved and implemented further. This book provides up-to-date information of where and why water shortages are occurring and where and why water markets are evolving to resolve conflicting water uses.
Though the main focus is on the United States, it includes examples from other parts of the world to show how water markets are beginning to thrive. It contains institutional detail that is accessible to people who are not economic or hydrologic experts, and comes alive with numerous examples and case studies of water markets.
The book begins with an analysis of water institutions as they have varied over time and location. It then covers a range of discrete water management topics including surface water allocation, groundwater management, environmental flows, and water quality trading. The book concludes with predictions about the future of water scarcity and the ability of water markets to shape that future more positively.
"Tapping Water Markets makes a persuasive case for using prices, property rights and markets to allocate water for the benefit of society rather than resorting to politics to allocate it for the benefit of the few and well connected. It is an indispensable book and an invaluable contribution to the water policy debate." – G. Tracy Mehan, III, former Assistant Administrator for Water, U.S. E.P.A. (2001-2003)
"If we’re to keep the Blue Planet blue, we need innovative, imaginative and pragmatic reforms of our political and legal institutions. With provocative arguments and meticulous research, Tapping Water Markets is a passionate call for unleashing the dynamic power of markets to solve our water crisis." – Robert Glennon, The University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, author of Unquenchable: America’s Water Crisis and What To Do About It (Island Press, 2009)
"Anderson and PERC continue to evangelize on the benefits of free markets for resolving natural resource challenges. We’ll do well to consider their recommendations for increasing the role of markets in allocating and protecting our precious water resources." – Tom Iseman, Water Program Director, Western Governors’ Association
1. Why the Crisis? 2. Cheaper than Dirt 3. Who Owns the Water? 4. Water is for Fightin’ 5. Back to the Future 6. The New Frontier 7. Buy that Fish a Drink 8. Good to the Last Drop 9. The Race to Pump 10. You Can’t Keep a Good Market Down
Terry L. Anderson is the executive director of PERC and Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. Anderson’s work helped launch the idea of "free market environmentalism" with the publication of his book by that title, coauthored with Donald Leal. Anderson is the author or editor of more than 30 books and has published widely in both professional journals and the popular press. He received his B.S. from the University of Montana and his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Washington.
Brandon Scarborough is a research fellow at PERC specializing in water markets for economic and environmental applications, and the associated institutional structures that may promote or inhibit trading. Other research interests include markets for ecosystem services, climate change, and the efficacy of using forests to sequester carbon as part of a national or international abatement strategy. He holds B.S. degrees in biology and business and a Master’s in applied economics.
Lawrence R. Watson is a Research Fellow and the Director of Applied Programs at PERC. He specializes in contracts for environmental resources, particularly water and wildlife, and consults to environmental organizations and state agencies on market-based conservation strategies. Watson earned a law and a master’s degree from Duke University and a bachelor’s degree from Clemson University.