Water is becoming increasingly scarce. If recent usage trends continue, shortages are inevitable. Aquanomics discusses some of the instruments and policies that may be implemented to postpone, or even avoid, the onset of "water crises." These policies include establishing secure and transferable private water rights and extending these rights to uses that traditionally have not been allowed, including altering in-stream flows and ecosystem functions. The editors argue that such policies will help maximize water quantity and quality as water becomes scarcer and more valuable. Aquanomics contains many examples of how this is being accomplished, particularly in the formation of water markets and market-like exchanges of water rights.
Many observers see calamity ahead unless water supplies are harnessed and effectively conserved, and unless water quality can be improved. It is also clear that declining water quality is a serious problem in much of the world, as increasing human activities induce high levels of water degradation. Those who voice these concerns, argue the contributors to this volume, fail to consider the forces for improvement inherent in market political-economic systems that can address water issues. The contributors see water quality in economically advanced countries as improving, and they believe this establishes the validity of market-based approaches.
1. Introduction - B. Delworth Gardner and Randy T. Simmons
2. Markets for Freshwater Ecosystem Services - Martin W. Doyle and Todd BenDor
3. Water Quality Markets: Institutional Design and Performance - Jeffrey M. Peterson and Craig M. Smith
4. Buying Water for the Environment - Brandon Scarborough
5. Auctions of Water Rights - Ray Hartwell and Bruce Aylward
6. Transactions Costs and Water Markets: The Anticommons Perspective - Stephen N. Bretsen and Peter J. Hill
7. The Evolving Public Trust Doctrine: An Obstacle to Water Marketing - James L. Huffman
8. Market-like Water Quality Trading: Why It Matters, and How to Make It Happen - Leonard Shabman and Kurt Stephenson
9. The Economic Effects of Using Property Taxes in Lieu of Direct User Fees to Pay for Water - B. Delworth Gardner
10. The Economics of Dam Decommissioning for Ecosystem Restoration: Making Informed Decisions to Remove Aging U.S. Dams - Pearl Q. Zheng, Benjamin F. Hobbs, and Joseph F. Koonce
11. The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and the Political Economy of California Water Allocation - Rachael E. Goodhue, Susan Stratton Sayre, and Leo K. Simon
12. Lessons from Los Angeles: Dealing with Diminishing Predictability in Los Angeles Water Sources - Brian C. Steed
13. Dams, Water Rights, and Market Transfers in California - Richard W. Wahl
About the Authors