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.




Competition to access water resources is increasing as a result of population growth, economic development and climate change. As such competition intensifies, the issue of how governments allocate water between uses and users is rising on the policy agenda. International best practice shows that well-designed water allocation regimes help allocate water to where it creates the most value (economic, ecological, or socio-cultural) for society. They can adjust to changing conditions and preferences at least cost for society and can provide incentives for investment in water use efficiency and innovation.


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