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Bringing together 14 papers previously published in refereed journals, The Price of Water provides information that many readers would not otherwise have access to through their professional and academic libraries.

The basic disciplines of the articles are economics and philosophy, built upon by discussion of hydrology, civil engineering, water law and water resource planning. The scope of the book is broad, dealing with a diverse range of subjects such as regional and catchment planning and integrated water resources management.

Topics considered include:

  • both water quantities and qualities,
  • drought management,
  • the ‘virtual water’ controversy,
  • farmers’ water-rights,
  • the economic demand for water,
  • the design of abstraction charges,
  • the cost and use of irrigation water,
  • the design of effluent charges,
  • the ‘willingness-to-pay’ methodology.

The Price of Water aims to link up economics with the other dominant water resource disciplines, establishing an economics of the real world, rather than an academic abstraction - the hydrosocial balance. In providing a new and practicable basis for planning outsream water investments, as well as understanding the baseline situation, the development and use of the hydrosocial balance to modelling water resources supply and use at the regional (or river basin) scale delivers this link.

Stephen Merrett

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