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Edited by Sarah A. Wheeler

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Sarah Ann Wheeler

This chapter provides a summary of the application of the WMRA conceptual framework to case studies in this book that span six continents (Africa, Asia, Europe, South America, North America and Oceania), across 28 regions and 20 countries. As well as providing a summary of the case studies, it also provides an overview of the benefits associated with water markets, equity issues, and the areas where water markets fail. The application of the WMRA framework to the case studies in this book highlighted the importance of the correct sequencing of water reforms before formal water trade can occur. The majority of countries were only at Stage One (beginning) of the WMRA framework, and hence need significant water reforms before trade can occur to ensure trade does not lead to significant negative outcomes. Some of the key lessons for reform in countries included: a) establishing sustainable (and adaptable) water extraction caps; b) water accounting: c) measuring, monitoring and enforcing extractions; and d) recognising cultural values.

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Water Markets

A Global Assessment

Edited by Sarah A. Wheeler

Exploring water scarcity issues in light of the growing crisis in global water management, this book examines the applicability of water markets. It provides an overview and understanding of the presence of water markets across the globe, analysing the ways in which different countries and regions are grappling with water scarcity.
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Sarah Ann Wheeler and Ying Xu

This chapter provides an introduction and overview to the book Water Markets: A Global Assessment, and introduces readers to the concept of water markets and water trade. It summarises the chapters on water markets written by water policy expert scholars in 20 countries (and across 28 country areas/basins) around the world. The chapter also provides a systematic review of the water market literature to date. There has been an increasing publication trend on water market studies over time, with a predominance in the literature on rural water markets in Australia and the United States, and other countries that face water scarcity issues. Water market studies come from a variety of disciplines, and popular research questions include understanding important preconditions for water markets; water market price and volume drivers; and investigating net overall benefits from water markets.

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R. Quentin Grafton and Sarah Wheeler

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Sarah Ann Wheeler, Rosalind Bark, Adam Loch and Jeff Connor

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Sarah Ann Wheeler, Adam Loch, Lin Crase, Mike Young and R. Quentin Grafton

Water markets are increasingly proposed as a demand-management strategy to deal with water scarcity. Water trading arrangements, on their own, are not about setting bio-physical limits to water-use. Nevertheless, water trading that mitigates scarcity constraints can assist regulators of water resources to keep water-use within limits at the lowest possible cost, and may reduce the cost of restoring water system health. While theoretically attractive, many practitioners have, at best, only a limited understanding of the practical usefulness of markets and how they might be most appropriately deployed. Using lessons learned from jurisdictions around the world where water markets have been implemented, this study attempts to fill the existing water market development gap and provide an initial framework (the water market readiness assessment (WMRA)) to describe the policy and administrative conditions/reforms necessary to enable governments/jurisdictions to develop water trading arrangements that are efficient, equitable and within sustainable limits. Our proposed framework consists of three key steps: 1) an assessment of hydrological and institutional needs; 2) a market evaluation, including assessment of development and implementation issues; and 3) the monitoring, continuous/review and assessment of future needs; with a variety of questions needing assessment at each stage. We apply the framework to three examples: regions in Australia, the United States and Spain. These applications indicate that WMRA can provide key information for water planners to consider on the usefulness of water trading processes to better manage water scarcity; but further practical applications and tests of the framework are required to fully evaluate its effectiveness.