Cover: Monopoly and Micro-Irrigation in Smallholder Water Markets

Monopoly and Micro-Irrigation in Smallholder Water Markets

Using Exploratory Modeling to Consider Interactions between Market Structure and Agriculture Technology Subsidies

Published Oct 30, 2013

by Benjamin P. Bryant

Download eBook for Free

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 9.7 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.

Many rural agricultural areas around the world are facing severely depleted groundwater resources, which farmers rely on to increase agricultural productivity through irrigation. If groundwater in these areas is to be sustainably utilized, total withdrawals must be diminished from their current levels, which may cause a welfare loss on the part of farmers and their communities. The level of welfare loss (if any) and its distribution will depend which of a wide array of policies are implemented to curtail water use. In theory, the policies may take many forms, including direct and indirect rationing, direct and indirect marginal pricing, tradable water rights, and subsidizing water efficient technologies such as microirrigation. Depending on the environment in which they are implemented, these policies vary widely in terms of cost, effectiveness, and political feasibility, and may lead to many non-obvious interactions when multiple policies are implemented simultaneously.

This research contributes to a policy debate motivated by the situation in North Gujarat, India, where a mix of recently enacted policies has somewhat helped to improve the groundwater situation, but in an inefficient manner. Specifically, this research is aimed at understanding the changes water market participants may experience should there be a move to formalize water markets and establish tradable water rights — a costly and politically challenging proposition, but one with ostensibly significant advantages.

Research conducted by

This document was submitted as a dissertation in September 2013 in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the doctoral degree in public policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. The faculty committee that supervised and approved the dissertation consisted of Robert Lempert (Chair), Krishna Kumar, and Anthony Westerling.

This publication is part of the RAND dissertation series. Pardee RAND dissertations are produced by graduate fellows of the Pardee RAND Graduate School, the world's leading producer of Ph.D.'s in policy analysis. The dissertations are supervised, reviewed, and approved by a Pardee RAND faculty committee overseeing each dissertation.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.