Water Economics


Course Objective

The objective of this course is to familiarize students with the
economic analysis of water-related problems and solutions. After
following this course, students should be able to judge how well certain
policy instruments and institutional arrangements perform in terms of
effectiveness, efficiency and the sustainability of water management.
More specifically, after having participated in this module, students
should be able to answer the following questions:
1. What is the fundamental nature of water related problems from an
economic per-spective, in relation to notions like externalities, public
goods and free riding, and what does this imply for the choice of policy
2. How to characterize and measure economic values of water?
3. Which economic policy instruments are available for water management,
and what are their (dis)advantages?
4. How to guide the choice and design of water management strategies
with the help of Cost-benefit analysis and Cost-effectiveness analysis,
and what are the critical assumptions that underlie these methods?
5. What are the guiding principles of economic analyses of solutions for
water related problems, such as hydro-economic modelling?

Course Content

Water is an essential natural resource for society and the economy.
Every day people and various sectors in society, such as agriculture and
industry, use large amounts of water for purposes varying from drinking,
irrigation, food processing, transport, cooling, electricity production,
and recreation. Water is also a complex asset: it is renewable,
recyclable and exhaustible at the same time. Water quality and quantity
are equally relevant: having too little water makes water highly valued,
whereas having too much water results in a negative value of water. The
real societal costs and benefits of water use often remain hidden from
the public at large. Moreover, water can pose economic risks as is
reflected in damage and economic production losses caused by floods and

The course Water Economics aims at introducing students from various
backgrounds to the analysis of the drivers behind water-related problems
and their impacts on the environment and society. The course also deals
with solutions how to move towards a more sustainable and economically
efficient use and management of water resources. Topics include water
demand and supply, water markets and water pricing, valuation of water
resources as well as costs and benefits of alternative water policies,
e.g. when dealing with water pollution, river and groundwater ecosystem
restoration, water quantity and water-related hazards. Also integrated
river-basin management and hydro-economic modelling will be addressed.
The course offers both lectures and practical sessions in which students
apply economic methods such as Meta-analysis, Cost-benefit analysis and
Cost-effectiveness analysis and get familiar with statistical analysis
using R.

Teaching Methods

Lectures, Practicum, Computer lab.

Method of Assessment

Written exam and (group) assignments.


Readings will be announced on Canvas.

Target Audience

Hydrologist, Water Science.

General Information

Course Code AM_1167
Credits 6 EC
Period P4
Course Level 400
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator dr. J.E. Blasch
Examiner dr. J.E. Blasch
Teaching Staff dr. J.E. Blasch
dr. P.J.H. van Beukering
prof. dr. W.J.W. Botzen

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Seminar, Computer lab, Lecture, Practical
Target audiences

This course is also available as: