Economic Instruments and Water Reform: Conference and Paper


world water congress

At the recent XVI World Water Congress in Cancun, Mexico The Centre for Global Food and Resources (GFAR) organised a special session titled: Charges vs. buyback: who pays for water ecosystems restoration?

The objective of this session was to examine the role that economic instruments (e.g. water pricing and charges, ecosystem services payments, voluntary agreements, the buyback of rights and efficiency investments or incentives) play in reallocating water across various uses. In each case, the pros and cons associated with the use of such instruments was discussed to provide a useful synopsis for the uninitiated. This special session builds on growing international collaborations with researchers in Europe and the USA that have been funded by our separate DECRAs and additional monies provided from the 2017 EU Centre for Global Affairs Annual Grant Program at The University of Adelaide.

The session also provided us with a unique opportunity to highlight the results from a recent paper authored by some of the presenters. The paper will become ‘open access’ shortly and is currently online as follows:

The speakers at the special session, in order, were:

  • Professor Carlos Mario Gomez (University of Alcalá, Spain), the Chair of the session;
  • Dr Alvar Escriva-Bou (Public Policy Institute of California, USA) who discussed the role of context, legal frameworks and pricing
  • Dr Dioni Pérez-Blanco (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei, Italy) who presented on payments for ecosystem services;
  • Dr David Adamson (GFAR) outlined how buyback worked in Australia (see slide below); and
  • Dr Adam Loch (GFAR) debated the fundamental messages about water-use efficiency and the impact on environmental flows (see slides).

The session went well and even was included in the official daily news of the XVI World Water Congress ( A photo from that newsletter is included below.


This post was prepared by Dr. David Adamson and Dr. Adam Loch.

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