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Demand Management in a Basin Perspective: Is the Potential for Water Saving Overestimated?

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Molle, François; Turral, Hugh
Conference: International Water Demand Management Conference
Location: Dead Sea, Jordan
Conf. Date: May 30 - June 3
Date: 2005
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/5060
Sector: Water Resource & Irrigation
Subject(s): water management
water resources
river basins
allocation rules
Abstract: "Water Demand management has received much emphasis from development agencies in the last decade. The concept stemmed from a growing awareness of the externalities of large scale water resources development and of an assumed state of wastage in the use of water by many sectors, notably agriculture. The paper examines critically the scope for saving water in water short basins. It argues that because of the closing/closed nature of such basins, the gains that can be achieved through demand management have been much overstimated. It shows that demand management interventions result in some users being able to increase their water use to the detriment management interventions result in some users being able to increase their water use to the detriment of downstream users and that most interventions result in spatial shifts of water use rather than savings. Water pricing is often proposed as a way to curb water use but its introduction in irrigated agriculture is shown to be problematic. The economic argument for re-allocation to higher value uses is distinct from the discussion of water savings in the paper and is not considered in any detail. The paper also suggests that supply management remains indeed the most effective way to reduce water use, and that in many cases supply augmentation cannot be avoided."

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