Volume 29, Issue 4

December 2013

Research Article

Economic benefits and security implications of trading hydropower through transboundary power grids in Asia

Mikiyasu Nakayamaa  and Miko Maekawab
aGraduate School of Frontier Sciences, University of Tokyo, Japan; bWisdom of Water (Suntory) Corporate-Sponsored Research Program, Organization for Interdisciplinary Research Projects, University of Tokyo, Japan

Contact: Mikiyasu Nakayama | Email: nakayama@k.u-tokyo.ac.jp


Countries with large potential for hydropower generation can seize large benefits by connecting their hydropower stations to transboundary power grids and trading electricity with other nations. Such benefits include income from selling hydropower; construction of hydropower stations not otherwise financially viable; certified emission reduction (CER) credits from a clean development mechanism as defined in the Kyoto Protocol; and allocation of more resources for environment conservation and resettler livelihood rehabilitation. Buyer countries can also reap gains from such a partnership, namely the importing of cheap electricity, diversification of energy sources to improve disaster preparedness, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and CER credits in the developing world. Possible shortcomings in terms of regional and domestic uncertainty should be addressed in designing and implementing transboundary power grids so that these impacts are prevented or mitigated.

Pages: 501-513


Research Article

Institutional legitimacy: an exegesis of normative incentives

Yahua Wanga and Leong Chingb
aSchool of Public Policy and Management, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China; bLee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy , National University of Singapore, Singapore

Contact: Yahua Wang | Email: wangyahua@tsinghua.edu.cn


This paper reviews the current thinking on institutions and finds that the notion of legitimacy is incompletely developed in the pervasive collective action model of new institutional economics. It argues that institutional legitimacy should be conceived as a set of normative incentives compelling people to uphold this institution and providing incentives for trust and successful institutional change. The result is a legitimacy model that allows us to better understand policy success and failures in water reform, by exploring both rules of the game and principles derived from narrative and hermeneutic analyses.

Pages: 514-525

https://doi.org/10.1080/07900627.2013.787831 (Open Access)

Research Article

Economic approaches to water management in Australia

James Horne
James Horne and Associates, Deakin, Australia

Contact: James Horne | Email: jameshorne@iinet.net.au


This paper focuses on the use of three economic approaches to water management in Australia that can increase the efficiency of water use and water security, thus providing a fillip to sustainability and economic growth: the establishment of water markets and water pricing; government spending; and the adoption of legislation and economic regulations promoting the development of water markets. Australia is well down the reform path, but needs to complete implementation. Australia’s challenge is relevant to many countries struggling with demand and supply water imbalances, and the consequential declining environmental outcomes in rural areas and persistent water shortages in urban areas.

Pages: 526-543


Research Article

Incentives for ecosystem service supply in Australia’s Murray – Darling Basin

Onil Banerjeea and Rosalind Barkb
aCSIRO, Environment and Development, Dutton Park, Australia; bCSIRO, Natural Resource Economics and Decision Science, Dutton Park, Australia

Contact: Onil Banerjee | Email: onil.banerjee@csiro.au


For Australia, the Murray–Darling Basin is a significant ecological and socioeconomic asset. During the Millennium Drought (1997–2010), severe ecosystem service losses provided impetus for water policy reform. With around $8.9 billion committed, the Commonwealth’s two-pronged water recovery strategy is to purchase water entitlements for the environment and support investment in improving irrigation infrastructure efficiency. In this paper, we consider the design of a complementary payment for ecosystem services pathway which using water as payment can provide incentives for local ecosystem service supply.

Pages: 544-556


Research Article

Can India raise agricultural productivity while reducing groundwater and energy use?

M. Dinesh Kumara, Christopher A. Scottb and O.P. Singhc
aInstitute for Resource Analysis and Policy, Hyderabad, India; bCenter for Studies in Public Policy and School of Geography and Development, University of Arizona, Tucson, USA; cDepartment of Agricultural Economics, Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India

Contact: M. Dinesh Kumar | Email: dinesh@irapindia.org


This paper provides empirical evidence that power tariff reform with pro rata pricing and higher unit rates for electricity not only would promote equity, efficiency and sustainability in groundwater use, but also would be socio-economically viable for small-holder farmers. It shows that the arguments of “high transaction cost” and “political infeasibility” used against metering are valid only in specific regional contexts and under increasingly outmoded power-pricing and agricultural-production regimes, if one considers the recent advancements in remote sensing and the facts that overexploited regions have a low density of wells and are mostly owned by farmers who constitute a small segment of the farming community.

Pages: 557-573


Research Article

Ecosystem-based management in challenging conditions: implications of a case study from north-eastern Turkey

Dilek Unalan
School of Applied Disciplines, Bogazici University, Istanbul, Turkey

Contact: Dilek Unalan | Email: unalan@boun.edu.tr


This paper studies ways to implement ecosystem-based management (EBM) regardless of data and governance conditions. It focuses on a case study from Turkey and considers how EBM can be implemented under certain specific challenging conditions. The case study provides conceptual context diagrams of actual and hypothetical situations and then compares them using soft systems methodology. This comparison emphasizes the need for a firm political will that fully enforces regulations on the protection of water resources. The paper also recommends a productive stakeholder engagement that empowers locals and uses local knowledge to meet information requirements for progress towards EBM implementation under challenging conditions.

Pages: 574-587


Research Article

Price determination and efficiency in the market for water rights in New Mexico’s Middle Rio Grande Basin

Matthew T. Paynea and Mark Griffin Smithb
aWestWater Research, Phoenix, Arizona; bDepartment of Economics and Business, Colorado College, Colorado Springs

Contact: Matthew T. Payne | Email: payne@waterexchange.com


Water rights markets in the western United States have expanded over the last 40 years, as a result of population growth in the West and Southwest, and limited development ofxnew storage. Until 2008, house prices, home construction and population growth appeared to be locked in an ever-increasing upward trend. With little historical experience to the contrary, water right market prices similarly appeared to be driven by real estate development. The collapse of the housing market in the last four years provides an opportunity to examine the connection between the real estate and water markets. It is found that Middle Rio Grande Basin water right prices are influenced by housing prices, per capita income in the buyer’s county, buyer type, point of diversion, and transaction volume. However, significant price dispersion remains, raising the question of how efficiently this market is currently working.

Pages: 588-604


Research Article

Monitoring access to water in rural areas based on the human right to water framework: a local level case study in Nicaragua

Ó. Floresa, A. Jiméneza,b and A. Pérez-Fogueta
aResearch Group on Cooperation and Human Development (GRECDH), Institute of Sustainability, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya ETSECCPB, Barcelona, Spain; bONGAWA, Ingeniería para el Desarrollo Humano, Madrid, Spain

Contact: Ó. Flores | Email: oscar.flores.baquero@upc.edu


Much effort has gone into the recognition of the human right to water. Without doubt, this milestone influences governance and decision making processes at many scales so it is essential now to shift the discussion from the legal and conceptual framework to practice. Along this line, the article proposes a methodology for monitoring access to water in rural areas using the framework of this human right. The practicality of the approach is demonstrated by a case study carried out in Nicaragua. Different criteria of the right to water were included in surveys and structured interviews that were conducted in rural households and water committees, respectively. A discussion analyzes the advantages and challenges of using this framework. Finally, the approach provides elements for policy making that can be used by different stakeholders in the development and human rights sectors.

Pages: 605-621


Research Article

Developing sustainable and replicable water supply systems in rural communities in Brazil

Francisco Osny Enéas da Silvaa, Tanya Heikkilab, Francisco de Assis de Souza Filhoc and Daniele Costa da Silvac
aUniversity of Fortaleza, State of Ceará, Brazil; bSchool of Public Affairs, University of Colorado Denver, USA, Francisco de Assis de Souza Filho, Daniele Costa da Silva; cFederal University of the State of Ceará , Brazil

Contact: Tanya Heikkila | Email: tanya.heikkila@ucdenver.edu


This article examines the challenges and opportunities for developing rural water supply programs that can meet multiple sustainability criteria (including social, technical/administrative and environmental criteria) and can be replicated beyond individual communities. It draws lessons from a water supply development project in Northeast Brazil, identifying how environmental and community assessments, community engagement in planning, as well as training, capacity building and monitoring can help meet sustainability criteria. The article further explores how an institutionalized planning process and partnerships with public agencies and donors are integrated into the project design to support replicability.

Pages: 622-635


Research Article

Water access in Sucre, Bolivia: a case of governance deficit

Edna Guidi Gutiérreza, Francisco González Gámezb and Jorge Guardiolab
aUnión Iberoamericana de Municipalistas, Granada, Spain; bDepartment of Applied Economics and Institute of Water Research, University of Granada, Spain

Contact: Francisco González Gómez | Email: fcojose@ugr.es


Bolivia is one of the countries on the American continent with the lowest rates of access to water, a situation that has caused confrontation between civil society and water utility managers in some cities. This research describes the water access scenario in Sucre, the capital of Bolivia, together with the key challenges faced by the company that manages the water services in the city. The case of Sucre is an example of how poor water governance can generate inefficiencies in the management of the service. Taking this into consideration, policy and institutional reforms are recommended to facilitate decision making aimed at improving the current situation of access to water.

Pages: 636-649


Research Article

Environmental flow assessment as a tool for achieving environmental objectives of African water policy, with examples from East Africa

Michael E. McClaina,b, Japhet J. Kashaigilic and Preksedis Ndombad
aUNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, Delft, the Netherlands; bFaculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Delft University of Technology, Delft, the Netherlands; cDepartment of Forest Mensuration and Management, Faculty of Forestry and Nature Conservation, Sokoine University of Agriculture, Chuo Kikuu, Morogoro, Tanzania; dDepartment of Water Resources Engineering, University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Contact: Michael E. McClain | Email: m.mcclain@unesco-ihe.org


Africa has set ambitious targets for development of water resources over the coming decades. Africa Water Vision 2025 calls for a doubling of irrigated agriculture and a five-fold increase in water use for agriculture, industry, and hydropower. The ambitious development targets are framed in the context of integrated water resources management, which also seeks to simultaneously allocate sufficient water for environmental sustainability. Over the past two decades scientists have devised a number of practical and robust approaches to determine environmental water requirements in rivers and wetlands based on the objectives set in water planning. We review the most widely applied approaches to assess environmental flow requirements and consider their application in Africa through case studies in the transboundary Mara River basin of Kenya and Tanzania and the Great Ruaha River basin in Tanzania.

Pages: 650-665


Policy Brief

Water and democracy: new roles for civil society in water governance

Lawrence Susskind
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA

Contact: Lawrence Susskind | Email: susskind@mit.edu


In most democratic countries, government officials make water-allocation decisions. Citizens depend on these officials and their technical advisors to take account of both technical and political considerations in determining which water uses get priority, what infrastructure investments to make and what water quality standards to apply. In many parts of the world, water users and stakeholders have additional opportunities to comment on such decisions before they are implemented. Under some circumstances, citizens can challenge water management decisions in court. This is not enough. More direct democracy, involving stakeholders before such decisions aremade, can produce fairer and increasingly sustainable results. The steps in collaborative adaptive management – a form of stakeholder engagement particularly appropriate to managing complexwater networks – are described in this article alongwith the reasons that traditional forms of representative democracy are inadequate when it comes to water policy.

Pages: 666-677


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