Volumetric water pricing, social surplus and supply augmentation

Rupert Quentin Grafton, Chu Long, Tom Kompas, Michael Byas Ward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


We evaluate the welfare losses of undertaking water supply augmentation in Sydney, Australia with a fixed, regulated water price given weather variability. Stochastic dynamic programming is used to determine dynamically efficient water prices and to estimate the losses in social surplus from premature water supply augmentation. Results show that premature water supply augmentation under the base case reduces the net present value of the welfare of households by more than A 3 billion, or some A 1900 NPV per household. With a broad range of parameters controlled in our sensitivity analysis, the actual construction time of the water plant is associated with a net loss, unless the lifetime of the plant is exceptionally long in combination with a low discount rate. While the findings are specific to Sydney, our modeling is of general interest because it could be employed to avoid costly and premature supply augmentation elsewhere.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74 - 87
Number of pages14
JournalWater Resources and Economics
Publication statusPublished - 2014
  • Volumetric water pricing, social surplus and supply augmentation

    Grafton, Q., Chu, L., Kompas, T. & Ward, M., 2015, Understanding and Managing Urban Water in Transition. Grafton, Q., Daniell, K. A., Nauges, C., Rinaudo, J-D. & Chan, N. W. W. (eds.). 1st ed. Dordrecht Netherlands: Springer, p. 401-419 19 p. (Global Issues in Water Policy; vol. 15).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Otherpeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)

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