Role of economic instruments in water allocation reform: lessons from Europe

D. Rey, C. Dionisio Pérez-Blanco, A. Escriva-Bou, C. Girard, T.I.E. Veldkamp

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


A growing number of countries are reforming their water allocation
regimes through the use of economic instruments. This article analyzes
the performance of economic instruments in water allocation reforms
compared against their original design objectives in five European
countries: England, France, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands. We
identify the strengths of, barriers to and unintended consequences
of economic instruments in the varying socio-economic, legal,
institutional and biophysical context in each case study area, and
use this evidence to draw out underlying common guidelines and
recommendations. These lessons will help improve the effectiveness
of future reforms while supporting more efficient water resources
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)206-239
Number of pages34
JournalInternational Journal of Water Resources Development
Issue number2
Early online date19 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2019


This work was supported by the UK Natural Environment Research Council under the Historic Droughts Project (NE/L010070/1); AXA Research Fund under the BOOSTER BLUE Project (Economic Instruments For Sustainable Water Management And Resilient Growth In Water Stressed Areas); Climate-KIC Europe through the Climate Smart Agriculture Booster project AGRO ADAPT (Service for Local and Economy Wide Assessment of Adaptation Actions in Agriculture); and the EU 7th Framework Programme through the project Earth2Observe (grant agreement 603608). No new data were collected in the course of this research.

FundersFunder number
Historic Droughts Project
Seventh Framework Programme603608
Natural Environment Research CouncilNE/L010070/1
AXA Research Fund


    • Europe
    • Integrated Water Resources Management
    • Water allocation
    • economic instruments
    • water policy


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