Research: Water

Mali River

What institutional innovations can help alleviate the economic costs of groundwater depletion?

We undertake a cost-benefit analysis of alternative approaches to groundwater management in the Diamond Valley, Nevada. Rapid groundwater depletion is forcing the State Government and irrigators to consider the curtailment of existing water rights. The costs and benefits of different curtailment options – including innovations such as trading systems – are assessed using a mathematical programming model. We consider the distribution of impacts on farmers with different types of water rights. Conducted with colleagues at Duke University and the University of North Carolina.

See also my blog post on this issue: Wellspring of Ingenuity

pdf Zeff, H, Kaczan, D, Characklis, G, Jeuland, M, and Murray, B (2019) ‘Benefits, costs and distributional impacts of a groundwater trading program’ Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, 145(6).

What are the impacts of climate change’s impacts on extreme weather – droughts and floods – on human migration?

We undertake a review of recent empirical causal analysis on the impact of extreme weather on migration in lower income contexts. We find that recent studies show that segments of the population are “forced to stay” by extreme weather events, reducing migration that would otherwise allow those people to adapt and diversify incomes. Conducted with Jennifer Orgill-Meyer of Franklin and Marshall College.

pdf Kaczan, D and Orgill, J, (2019) ‘The impact of climate change on migration: A synthesis of empirical insights’ Climatic Change.

What is water-related poverty, and how does it vary over space? 

As part of the CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food, we analyzed water-related poverty, and its correlates, across the Niger Basin, West Africa. We compared findings across 10 river basins over three continents to identify broad connections between water, agriculture and poverty. Conducted in collaboration with colleagues at CSIRO and  Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD).

Selected Publications:

pdf Ward, J and Kaczan, D (2014) ‘Challenging Hydrological Panaceas: water poverty governance accounting for spatial scale in the Niger River Basin’ Journal of Hydrology (519): 2501-14

pdf Kemp-Benedict, E, Cook, S, Summer, A, Vosti, S , Lemoalle, J, Giordano, M , Ward, J and Kaczan, D (2011) ‘Connections between poverty, water and agriculture: evidence from 10 river basins’, Water International, 36(1): 125-14.

pdfKaczan, D and Ward, J (2011) ‘Water statistics and poverty statistics in Africa: Do they correlate at national scales?’ Water International, 36(3): 283-94.

pdf Ogilvie, A, Mahé, G, Ward, J, Serpantié, G, Lemoalle, J, Morand, P, Barbier, B, Tamsir Diop , A, Caron, A, Namarra, R, Kaczan, D, Lukasiewicz, A, Paturel, J, Liénou, G, Clanet, J (2010), ‘Water, Agriculture and Poverty in the Niger Basin’, Water International, 35(5): 594-622.

A summary of the Niger Basin work, suitable for a general audience, can be found in the following atlas:

pdf Clanet, J.C., and A. Ogilvie, A. (2015) ‘Water, agriculture & poverty in the Niger River Basin’, synthesis of BFP Niger results, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, Challenge Program on Water and Food.

What is the impact of climate change on Australian agriculture, and can markets help mitigate water resources uncertainty?

We investigate the likely impacts of climate change on irrigated agriculture in the Murray Darling Basin, Australia’s most important food growing area. We use a mathematical programming model to predict land use change and economic effects of reduced water availability under different policy settings. We consider the merits and challenges of using markets to manage water resources under future uncertainty. After a rocky two decades of reform, the Australian water market is the most effective and expansive in the world. Conducted in collaboration with colleagues at CSIRO.

Selected Publications:

pdf Connor, J and Kaczan, D (2013) ‘Principles for Economically Efficient and Environmentally Sustainable Water Markets: The Australian Experience’, in Schwabe, K, Albiac, J, Connor, J, Hassan, R and Meza-Gonzalez, L (Eds.) ‘Drought in Arid and Semi-arid Regions: A Multi-disciplinary and Cross-Country Perspective’, Springer Publishing, Dordrecht.

pdf Connor, J, Schwabe, K, King, D, Kaczan, D and Kirby, M (2009) “Impacts of climate change on lower Murray irrigation,” Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 53(3), p. 437-56.