Water Resource Economics

Water Resource Economics

The Analysis of Scarcity, Policies, and Projects

By Ronald C. Griffin

A comprehensive introduction to the economics of water management, for engineers and natural scientists as well as economists, with self-contained treatment of all necessary economic concepts.





A comprehensive introduction to the economics of water management, for engineers and natural scientists as well as economists, with self-contained treatment of all necessary economic concepts.

Economics brings powerful insights to water management, but most water professionals receive limited training in it. This text offers a comprehensive development of water resource economics that is accessible to engineers and natural scientists as well as economists. The goal is to build a practical platform for understanding and performing economic analysis using both theoretical and empirical tools. The mathematics needed to understand the subjects covered in this text include basic optimization methods and integral calculus. Familiarity with microeconomics or natural resource economics is helpful, but all the economics needed is presented and developed progressively in the text. Many water-based example calculations are included. Thus the book can be used for independent study as well as course work. The book focuses on the scarcity of water quantity (rather than water quality). The author presents the economic theory of resource allocation, recognizing the peculiarities imposed by water, and expands the theory to encompass time-defined matters such as ground water depletion. He then discusses such subjects as institutional economics, water law, how economics is used in policy and cost-benefit analysis, the roles of water marketing and water pricing, demand and supply estimation, privatization, and modeling with demand and supply functions. As an aid to readers with specific interests, references to recent literature are given for all of these topics. Each chapter ends with a summary and exercises. All graphic portrayals of economic theory and most calculations are performed using Mathematica software. These programs are downloadable, but their use is entirely optional.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262072670 496 pp. | 7 in x 9 in 55 illus.


  • Griffin has succeeded in producing something rare: an economics textbook that is both comprehensive in its topical coverage and lively enough to engage non-economists! Sound mathematical/graphical treatment of key subjects, yet easy-to-follow prose: this book ought to be required reading not only for students of water resource economics but for public officials and water agency staff worldwide.

    Bonnie Colby

    Professor, Departments of Agricultural & Resource Economics and Hydrology, University of Arizona

  • What differentiates this book from others on water economics issues is its comprehensive overview of the subject matter, including institutional analysis, various appraoches to water efficiency, and policy analysis, to mention only a few. Griffin is uniquely placed to write such a book, and he eloquently guides the reader through the economic links between scarcity, policies, and projects in a way that accommodates differing levels of comprehension. This book is special, long awaited by economists and water professionals.

    Ariel Dinar

    The World Bank

  • This text provides a rigorous conceptual basis for economics while simultaneously enabling students to obtain a solid background in water resource economics in a single course. Griffin uses a minimum of mathematics and economics jargon to explain economic concepts applied to water resource planning problems. His book makes a fundamental contribution to multidisciplinary curricula in water resource engineering, planning, and management, and should be required reading for all students in such programs.

    Richard M. Vogel

    Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Tufts University

  • Griffin's wonderful text provides balanced and insightful coverage of the economics and management of water resources. He guides the reader through the fascinating world of water institutions, using economic theory to shed light on private choices, market outcomes, and policy design. The book can be the main text for a intermediate course in water economics or even natural resources. I recommend it strongly.

    David Zilberman

    Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, University of California, Berkeley