Special Issue "Urban Water Economics"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Urban Water Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (21 December 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Ramón Barberán
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Applied Economics, Faculty of Economics and Business Studies, University of Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain
Interests: water economics; environmental economics; economic evaluation of public policies; regional fiscal balances; fiscal federalism
Dr. Pilar Gracia-De-Rentería
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agrifood and Natural Resource Economics, Agrifood Research and Technology Centre of Aragon (CITA), Zaragoza, Spain
Interests: water economics; environmental economics; bioeconomy; food supply chain; international trade

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Water resources management in urban areas has special relevance because water availability, quality, and safety have important implications for human and economic development in these areas that concentrate an ever-increasing proportion of the population and economic activity. Moreover, in these urban settings, domestic, industrial, municipal, recreational, and environmental water uses compete, so it is essential to guarantee efficient water allocation and use in such a way that produces an equitable distribution of costs and enables all people to meet their basic needs for drinking water.

To achieve these goals, an adequate implementation of both demand and supply measures are needed as well as a high degree of water governance. In this context, economic analysis plays a key role in the design and assessment of these measures, as it can be used to ensure that they are efficient, equitable, affordable, and sustainable.

This Special Issue aims to offer an overview of recent developments in urban water resources management from an economic perspective. Both methodological and empirical contributions are welcome as well as relevant literature reviews. This includes contributions from different disciplines that employ a diverse range of approaches and use economic analysis to address such topics as:

  • Water demand estimation and forecasting;
  • Analysis and design of water pricing policies;
  • Incentives for R&D investments;
  • Implementation of water-saving measures;
  • Analysis of the effectiveness of awareness campaigns;
  • Analysis of water end uses;
  • Socioeconomic aspects of water use;
  • Water infrastructure assessment;
  • Development and use of alternative water resources; and
  • Improvements in water governance (stakeholder participation, public–private collaboration, privatization, etc.).

Prof. Dr. Ramón Barberán
Dr. Pilar Gracia-De-Rentería
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Water is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Urban water
  • Water economics
  • Water demand management
  • Water pricing policies
  • Water-saving measures
  • Water supply
  • Water governance

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Article
Heterogeneity in Domestic Water Demand: An Application of Multilevel Analysis to the City of Valencia (Spain)
Water 2021, 13(23), 3400; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/w13233400 - 02 Dec 2021
Viewed by 439
Abstract
This paper deals with the question of unobservable heterogeneity and problems of scale in urban water demand. For this purpose, the determinants of domestic water consumption and the elasticities were estimated using a hierarchical model. For our empirical analysis, a household level data [...] Read more.
This paper deals with the question of unobservable heterogeneity and problems of scale in urban water demand. For this purpose, the determinants of domestic water consumption and the elasticities were estimated using a hierarchical model. For our empirical analysis, a household level data panel from Valencia (Spain) between 2009 and 2011 was available. Households were assigned to the city neighbourhoods to which they belong, which allowed us to incorporate the intra-urban scale into the analysis. In the estimate, the average price paid by each household in each bimonthly period was used due to the current tariff structure in Valencia. Regarding our results, there were differences in the consumption between the different neighbourhoods that were not independent of the average price paid by households. We found that 27% of the variability in consumption was explained by differences in household behaviour. In addition, an average price-elasticity in Valencia for all periods of −1.868 was obtained as well as a range of elasticities for the different neighbourhoods between (−1.53 and −1.21). From the results obtained, it is possible to extract relevant information for local water managers in order to apply economic instruments, prices and taxes to urban water demand. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Water Economics)
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Article
Perceptions of Drinking Water Service of the ‘Off-Grid’ Community in Cimahi, Indonesia
Water 2021, 13(10), 1398; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/w13101398 - 17 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1103
Abstract
The establishment of decentralized drinking water systems in urban areas is technically and financially feasible, and these ‘off-grid’ systems can complement investment in traditional piped water systems. However, users often see ‘off-grid’ systems as the second-best option, compared to citywide piped water systems. [...] Read more.
The establishment of decentralized drinking water systems in urban areas is technically and financially feasible, and these ‘off-grid’ systems can complement investment in traditional piped water systems. However, users often see ‘off-grid’ systems as the second-best option, compared to citywide piped water systems. Thus, although they are designed to improve access to water and reduce inequality, they can be perceived by users as infrastructural manifestations of extant inequality. In this paper, we present original research on the perceptions of users in Cimahi, Indonesia, surrounding their access to water and willingness to use and maintain ‘off-grid’ infrastructure. The majority of respondents used groundwater and packaged water as their primary water sources, and paid approximately twice the maximum tariff of piped water service. We interpreted the survey data with the theory of planned behavior framework and determined that respondents demonstrated a willingness to pay fees for ‘off-grid’ water systems, participate in water supply programs, and switch to new water sources. These intentions were affected by their attitude towards the behavior, subjective norm, and perceived behavioral control to various degrees. The findings are useful for those designing strategies to introduce novel water delivery systems aimed at improving water access for diverse and disadvantaged socioeconomic groups in urban areas in the Global South. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Water Economics)
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Article
The Effect of Social Behavior on Residential Water Consumption
Water 2021, 13(9), 1184; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13091184 - 25 Apr 2021
Viewed by 603
Abstract
We analyze how residential water consumption is influenced by the consumption of households belonging to the same social group (peer effect). Analyses are based on household-level data provided by the Brazilian Household Budget Survey and use an innovative strategy that estimates the spatial [...] Read more.
We analyze how residential water consumption is influenced by the consumption of households belonging to the same social group (peer effect). Analyses are based on household-level data provided by the Brazilian Household Budget Survey and use an innovative strategy that estimates the spatial dependence of water consumption while simultaneously controlling for potential sources of sample selectivity and endogeneity. The estimates of our quantile regression models highlight that, conditional on household characteristics, the greater the household water consumption, the greater the peer effect. In other words, the overconsumption of residential water seems to be influenced mainly by the behavior of social peers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Water Economics)
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Article
The Impacts of the Geographic Distribution of Manufacturing Plants on Groundwater Withdrawal in China
Water 2021, 13(9), 1158; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/w13091158 - 22 Apr 2021
Viewed by 1606
Abstract
The overexploitation of groundwater in China has raised concern, as it has caused a series of environmental and ecological problems. However, far too little attention has been paid to the relationship between groundwater use and the spatial distribution of water users, especially that [...] Read more.
The overexploitation of groundwater in China has raised concern, as it has caused a series of environmental and ecological problems. However, far too little attention has been paid to the relationship between groundwater use and the spatial distribution of water users, especially that of manufacturing factories. In this study, a factory scatter index (FSI) was constructed to represent the spatial dispersion degree of manufacturing factories in China. It was found that counties and border areas between neighboring provinces registered the highest FSI increases. Further non-spatial and spatial regression models using 205 provincial-level secondary river basins in China from 2016 showed that the scattered distribution of manufacturing plants played a key role in groundwater withdrawal in China, especially in areas with a fragile ecological environment. The scattered distribution of manufacturing plants raises the cost of tap water transmission, makes monitoring and supervision more difficult, and increases the possibility of surface water pollution, thereby intensifying groundwater withdrawal. A reasonable spatial adjustment of manufacturing industry through planning and management can reduce groundwater withdrawal and realize the protection of groundwater. Our study may provide a basis for water-demand management through spatial adjustment in areas with high water scarcity and a fragile ecological environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Water Economics)
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Article
Urban Water Pricing and Private Interests’ Lobbying in Small Rural Communities
Water 2020, 12(12), 3509; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/w12123509 - 14 Dec 2020
Viewed by 735
Abstract
It is difficult for small municipalities to ensure their urban water cycle complies with the principle of cost recovery established in the European Union (EU) Water Framework Directive. Unlike more populous municipalities, small municipalities face higher average production costs. However, at least in [...] Read more.
It is difficult for small municipalities to ensure their urban water cycle complies with the principle of cost recovery established in the European Union (EU) Water Framework Directive. Unlike more populous municipalities, small municipalities face higher average production costs. However, at least in Spain, the price of water is, on average, lower in small municipalities. We question whether the low price of water in rural areas is due, at least in part, to people linked to agriculture, i.e., do farmers constitute a special interest group that hinders increases in the price of water? The main hypothesis was tested with data taken from Torre-Cardela, a municipality in southern Spain with close to 800 inhabitants. In the research a contingent valuation analysis was carried out to analyze respondents’ willingness to pay in the event of a hypothetical increase in the price of water to help cover the service costs. Contrary to expectations, the study yields no evidence that the agricultural population is more resistant to price rises than the rest of the citizens surveyed. In fact, results show that people involved in the agricultural sector would be willing to accept a hypothetical increase in water tariffs in between 15% and 25% over the current tariff, while for the rest of the population this same increase would be lower (in between 9% and 20%). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Water Economics)
Article
Government Guarantee Decisions in PPP Wastewater Treatment Expansion Projects
Water 2020, 12(12), 3352; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/w12123352 - 29 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 850
Abstract
Public private partnership (PPP) models are often used in delivering wastewater treatment (WWT) projects. When existing PPP projects need expansion due to higher demand for WWT, in many cases, the expansion may involve a new PPP contract involving a new concessionaire. Expansion PPPs [...] Read more.
Public private partnership (PPP) models are often used in delivering wastewater treatment (WWT) projects. When existing PPP projects need expansion due to higher demand for WWT, in many cases, the expansion may involve a new PPP contract involving a new concessionaire. Expansion PPPs have unique challenges as the sharing of responsibilities and risks can become complex. The complexities are further exacerbated when there are government guarantees involved. Structuring inappropriate guarantees can often lead to high costs for the government. This study focused on the choice of government guarantee in PPP expansion projects in the WWT sector by examining two popular guarantee mechanisms: minimum revenue guarantee and exclusive right. A decision model was developed and applied in a real WWT expansion PPP project in China to illustrate the optimal guarantee under varying circumstances related to service demand, expected unit price, and the existing guarantees in the existing PPP project. The contribution of the study lies in the applicability of the model to facilitate better decisions for the government in selecting the optimal guarantee mechanism in PPP expansion projects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Water Economics)
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Review

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Review
Economic Determinants of Industrial Water Demand: A Review of the Applied Research Literature
Water 2021, 13(12), 1684; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/w13121684 - 17 Jun 2021
Viewed by 968
Abstract
This paper surveys the empirical economic literature focused on the determinants of industrial water demand. Both the methodological issues and the outcomes of the previous studies are presented and discussed. Attention is given to key methodological issues, such as the available information, the [...] Read more.
This paper surveys the empirical economic literature focused on the determinants of industrial water demand. Both the methodological issues and the outcomes of the previous studies are presented and discussed. Attention is given to key methodological issues, such as the available information, the type of data used, the specification of the variables, the choice of the estimated function, its functional form, and the estimation techniques used, highlighting the issues that require greater attention in future studies. Regarding the results, we focus on the estimated elasticities in order to know how the price of water, the level of activity, and the prices of the other inputs influence the demand for water. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Water Economics)
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