IMDEA Water researcher, Miguel Solanes, delivered a lecture at the World Bank on September 17th, 2012.
IMDEA Water researcher, Miguel Solanes, delivered a lecture at the World Bank on September 17th, 2012. The presentation title was “Towards Sustainable Water Markets: A comparative Review of the Experiences from Australia, Chile, Spain and the United States”. Caroline van der Berg, Lead Water and Sanitation Specialist (MNSWA), chaired the session and Marie-Laure Lajaunie, Senior Water Resource Specialist (LCSEN) and Susanne Scheierling, Senior Irrigation Water Economist, (TWIWA) were the discussants. The Bank-wide Irrigation and Drainage Group and the Water Anchor sponsored and organized the conference.
Miguel emphasised the importance of water markets as water becomes scarcer relative to demand. He pointed out the systemic connection between the legal, institutional, economic, and environmental contexts impinging on water markets, based on a comprehensive comparative assessment of the experiences in the USA, Australia, Chile, and Spain. Miguel reflected on the research context for this assessment (fostered by EPI-Water FP7 research project and the analysis of context variables, sustainability, efficiency and equity), and the recognition of the multiple roles of water resources (social, economic, environmental, etc.). In addition, Miguel drew insights on the economic conception of water (public-private nature, economies of scale, externalities and transaction costs, imperfect markets, and so many others). He noted that water is a capital asset, that properly managed can be utilized in sustainable manners. He pointed out that the economic, social, and environmental outcomes of different national systems depend-inter alia- on the legal design of water rights and water markets. In his view, experience show, that nominal entitlements and transactions affect sustainability and the environment. He signalled the relationships between externalities and transaction costs, the influence of interest groups, and the importance of both appropriate institutional design for water management, and conflict solving mechanisms.