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Economic Value of Water: Estimation

Water Law and Economics

  1. Jorge Ramírez-Vallejo

Published Online: 15 APR 2005

DOI: 10.1002/047147844X.wl13

Water Encyclopedia

Water Encyclopedia

How to Cite

Ramírez-Vallejo, J. 2005. Economic Value of Water: Estimation. Water Encyclopedia. 4:605–612.

Author Information

  1. Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 APR 2005


The global awareness of the vital role water plays in sustainable national development is increasing. Water is vital for sustaining life on the earth. It is crucial for economic and social development, including energy production, agriculture, and domestic and industrial water supplies. Therefore, each unit of water should be used efficiently, equitably, and soundly. The economic value that water generates should be given due attention, when apportioning scarce water resources among competing uses.

Water is often regarded as a naturally occurring, freely available commodity. However, its supply, especially in an unpolluted state, is often limited compared to the demands placed upon it. Hence, water is both a constraint on and an essential input of economic activity, and decisions are required to allocate it among competing uses.


  • economics;
  • value;
  • valuation;
  • benefits;
  • costs;
  • demand;
  • management