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Title: A history of the institutions for allocating water in South Africa, and efficiency of allocation of water between agricultural users in the Crocodile River catchment, Mpumalanga Province, South Africa
Author: Bate, R.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2000
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Irrigation policy from 1870 is examined in detail. History shows that water allocation was made on political grounds, the preferred solution being supply augmentation with economic demand management playing a secondary role. Failure to conduct any proper cost-benefit, or other economic, studies of water use efficiency, led to water abundance for some users and no supply for others. As water resources became economically scarce, and supply augmentation prohibitively expensive and environmentally damaging, water markets evolved in the 1980s in response to demands for more flexible allocation. These markets, which were initially illegal, have improved efficiency. A case study of the Crocodile River catchment explains the history of institutional development since the Second World War and how local institutions allocated water. Much of this institutional change was driven by the racist policy of apartheid. Recent institutional changes, driven by misallocation and droughts, are examined in detail because they enabled a market in tradeable use rights to flourish. The efficiency gains from this market are estimated. The final section of the research examines recent changes in water institutions in South Africa following the end of apartheid and the 1994 elections. The research concludes with a discussion of the likely path that allocation will take given the post-1994 institutions, and possible future research on the catchment, and water use in South Africa.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available