Are water markets globally applicable?

Takahiro Endo, Kaoru Kakinuma, Sayaka Yoshikawa, Shinjiro Kanae

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Water scarcity is a global concern that necessitates a global perspective, but it is also the product of multiple regional issues that require regional solutions. Water markets constitute a regionally applicable non-structural measure to counter water scarcity that has received the attention of academics and policy-makers, but there is no global view on their applicability. We present the global distribution of potential nations and states where water markets could be instituted in a legal sense, by investigating 296 water laws internationally, with special reference to a minimum set of key rules: legalization of water reallocation, the separation of water rights and landownership, and the modification of the cancellation rule for non-use. We also suggest two additional globally distributed prerequisites and policy implications: the predictability of the available water before irrigation periods and public control of groundwater pumping throughout its jurisdiction.

Original languageEnglish
Article number034032
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Mar
Externally publishedYes


  • global water scarcity
  • soft-path measure
  • water law
  • water market

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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