Water sharing through trade in markets for water rights: An illustrative application to the Middle East

Naomi Zeitouni, Nir Becker, Mordechai Shechter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The growing demand by countries in the eastern Mediterranean over the waters of the Jordan and Yarmuch Rivers, and the highly depleted coastal and mountain groundwater reservoirs, raise the need to explore ways and means to ameliorate existing and expected water scarcity. Economists have for some time proposed ways towards more efficient exploitation of existing water supplies, specifically by employing market incentive mechanisms in order to encourage voluntary water sharing among countries and regions. Such trading schemes may involve two or more countries. It can be shown that such schemes, given any initial assignment of property rights to water resources, can often lead to increases in the welfare of the countries concerned. The paper proposes two specific mechanisms for international markets in water rights in the eastern Mediterranean region, in which parties voluntarily engage in such trades, as they would expect to gain real benefits from these transactions. Simulation exercises with real data show that-as is true for any opening of markets to international trade-that all parties in the region might benefit to a greater or lesser degree from trade in water rights, either from actually using imported water or from the monetary gain from water exports.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)399-412
Number of pages14
JournalStudies in Environmental Science
Issue numberC
StatePublished - 1994

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
'Partial support from the Bertha Von Suttner Project at the Jewish-Arab Center of The University of Haifa is gratefully acknowladged.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering


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