The Complexity of the Economic Conception of Water: Revisiting Water Resources Management in Developing Countries

Patricia K Madigele


Water institutions, complexity, economic good, governance


The discrepancies in water supply and access in most developing countries have been caused by the failure of governments and water institutions to appreciate water as an economic good and/or to at least recognise that water has social and economic value in its various competing uses. It is argued that regarding water as an economic good is crucial, not only ensures that this scarce resource is used more efficiently, but also creates a basis for cost recovery. However, water should not be treated like a normal economic good as this natural resource is complex compared to other economic goods. This paper explores the complexity of the economic conception of water. It further makes an institutional analysis of effective and efficient governance of water resources management in developing countries.

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