Water Resources Allocation

Sharing Risks and Opportunities

image of Water Resources Allocation

Water resources allocation determines who is able to use water resources, how, when and where. It directly affects the value (economic, ecological, socio-cultural) that individuals and society obtain from water resources. This report overviews how allocation works in a range of countries and how the performance of allocation arrangements can be improved to adjust to changing conditions.

Capturing information from 27 OECD countries and key partner economies, the report presents key findings from the OECD Survey of Water Resources Allocation and case studies of successful allocation reform. It provides practical policy guidance for water allocation in the form of a "health check", which can be used to assess the performance of current arrangements and manage the transition to improved regimes.




The intensifying competition for water resources is widely documented. The OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050 highlights that water resources are already over-used or over-allocated in many places, with global demand expected to increase by 55% between 2000 and mid-century. The situation is compounded by climate change, with impacts on water expected to become more pronounced in the coming decades. These pressures have already made water allocation an urgent issue in a number of countries and one that is rising on the agenda in many others. Within this context, the OECD undertook work on water resources allocation to strengthen the evidence base and develop policy guidance to improve the design of allocation regimes and manage the challenges of reform.


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error