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News Green growth and alternative water allocation mechanisms

The need to reform water allocation, policies and mechanisms is becoming more and more pertinent to the policy-making agenda. Increasing demand for energy, competition over water, climate change and over-allocation of water have compelled governments to address this issue. Governments have different points of departure, however. During a two-day workshop on Water Allocation and Green Growth, 22–23 November 2012 in Wageningen, the Netherlands, almost 50 participants underlined the importance of raising awareness that water allocations are going to be reduced and to approach it in an organized way.

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Discussions focused on two main issues:

  • What is needed to achieve water allocation reforms?
  • What are the equity issues surrounding water allocation reforms?

Participants put forward the following considerations to be incorporated into water allocation reforms:

  • Increase knowledge about resource availability within sustainable limits at a specific time. Practical guidance on the ground to support water allocation decisions based on this information is also needed in order to make the bargaining game more transparent.
  • Introduce flexible allocation institutions, investments (based on real-option analyses) and mechanisms that can reallocate water when appropriate.
  • Consider economic trade-off analysis of several policy alternatives to support negotiations. Whether the agreed allocation is a good one is a perception.
  • Translate agreed allocations into regulations and procedures as well as into water allocation mechanisms (e.g. rationing, pricing, or markets). Responsibilities are then delegated and infrastructure is engineered.
  • Recognize that there are feedback loops. There is no unique right outcome, because there is not one objective function.

It was agreed that security of water availability is important. The water allocation process is a political bargaining process, which is guided by political objectives such as food self-sufficiency and equity. A number of transition barriers related to water allocation reforms were identified. For example, often the laws and institutions required for a reform are missing. It is also not known what users get back from giving up water in order to get more ecological/environmental flows.

The meeting was organized by the Government of the Netherlands in cooperation with the Netherlands Commission for UNESCO and the Netherlands National Committee IHP-HWRP (UNESCO’s & WMO’s water programmes), hosted by Wageningen UR as an input to the work of the OECD the coming years. Participants included: OECD, World Bank, SIWI, IIASA, IUCN, UNESCO, UNESCO-IHE, PBL, Melbourne University, Conservation International, UNW-DPAC, FutureWater,Deltares, European Commission, IVM-VU, BuZa, I&M, K-Water.



 Basic elements of Effective Water Resources Management, by Chris Perry

 IMAGE: tool for exploring the effects of water allocation and green growth strategies, by Willem Ligtvoet

 Macro-economic modeling of climate change and water scarcity, by Roy Brouwer

 Policy relevance for the Netherlands, by Niels Vlaanderen

 Preparing for an uncertain future through option analysis; the case of the Roode Vaart, by Gigi van Rhee

 Senegal River, by Tamsir Ndiaye

 The Water Blueprint, by Henriette Faergemann

 Water Allocation: A Participatory Approach?, by Mark Smith

 Water Allocation and Green Growth, by Maarten Gischler

 Allocation across New Waterscapes, by John Matthews

 Water Allocation and Investment Decisions in Water Infrastructure, by Diego Rodriguez

 Water Allocation in the Murray-Darling Basin, by Brian Davidson

 Water allocation policies and mechanisms, by Petra Hellegers

 Water and Green Growth in Korea, by Tae-Sun Shin

 Water Futures and Solutions: Developing a New Generation of Integrated World Water Scenarios, by David A. Wiberg

 Water Outlook 2050: Scenario Analysis to Support Decision Making in Water Allocation, by Peter Droogers

 Water trading: reducing or increasing demands for information?, by Josefina Maestu

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News type Inbrief
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Keyword(s) water allocation, water reforms
Geographical coverage Netherlands,
News date 15/02/2013
Working language(s) ENGLISH