Environmental Modeling & Assessment

, Volume 21, Issue 6, pp 691–706 | Cite as

On the Environmental Efficiency of Water Storage: the Case of a Conjunctive use of Ground and Rainwater

  • Hubert Stahn
  • Agnes Tomini


Rainwater harvesting, consisting in collecting runoff from precipitation, has been widely developed to stop groundwater declines and even raise water tables. However, this expected environmental effect is not self-evident. We show in a simple setting that the success of this conjunctive use depends on whether the runoff rate is above a threshold value. Moreover, the bigger the storage capacity, the higher the runoff rate must be to obtain an environmentally efficient system. We also extend the model to include other hydrological parameters and ecological damages, which respectively increase and decrease the environmental efficiency of rainwater harvesting.


Groundwater management Rainwater harvesting Optimal control Conjunctive use 



The authors would like to thank the advisory editor of Environmental Modeling & Assessment for helpful comments on an early version of this paper. The usual disclaimer of course applies. Support from the Labex AMSE (ANR-11-IDEX-0001-02) is gratefully acknowledged.


  1. 1.
    Allen, R., & Gisser, M. (1984). Competition versus Optimal Control in Groundwater Pumping when Demand is Nonlinear. Water Resources Research, 20, 752–756.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Azaiez, M.N. (2002). A model for conjunctive use of ground and surface water with opportunity costs. European journal of Operational Research, 143, 611–624.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Boers, Th.M., & Ben-Asher, J. (1982). A review of rainwater harvesting. Agricultural Water Management, 5, 145–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Brill, T.C., & Burness, H.S. (1994). Planning versus competitive rates of groundwater pumping. Water Resources Research, 30(6), 1873–1880.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Burness, H.S., & Martin, W.E. (1998). Management of a tributary aquifer. Water Resources Research, 24, 1339–1344.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Burt, O.R. (1934). The economics of conjunctive use of ground and surface water. Hilgardia, 32, 31–111.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Dinar, A., & Xepapadeas, A. (1998). Regulating water quantity and quality in irrigated agriculture. Journal of Environmental Management, 54(4), 273–289.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Esteban, E., & Albiac, J. (2011). Groundwater and ecosystems damages: Questioning the Gisser-Sánchez effect. Ecological Economics, 70(11), 2062–2069.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    FAO (1993). Land and water integration a driver basin management. In Proceedings of an FAO informal workshop, Rome.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Feinerman, E., & Knapp, K. (1983). Benefits from groundwater management: magnitude, Sensitivity, and Distribution. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 65, 703–710.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Gale, D., & Nikaido, H. (1965). The jacobian matrix and global univalence of mapping. Annals of Mathematics, 159, 81–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Gautier, C. (2008). Water alternatives (chap.14). In oil, water, and climate : an introduction (pp. 270–288): Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Gemma, M., & Tsur, Y. (2007). The stabilization value of groundwater and conjunctive water management under uncertainty. Review of Agricultural Economics, 29(3), 540–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Gisser, M., & Sánchez, D.A. (1980). Competition versus optimal control in groundwater pumping. Water Resources Research, 31, 638–642.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Hellegers, P., Zilberman, D., & Van Ierland, E. (2001). Dynamics of agricultural groundwater extraction. Ecological Economics, 37(2), 303–311.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Huang, T., & Pang, Z. (2010). Changes in groundwater induced by water diversion in the Lower Tarim River, Xinjiang Uygur, NW China: Evidence from environmental isotopes and water chemistry. Journal of Hydrology, 387, 188–201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Koundouri, P. (2004a). Potential for Groundwater Management: Gisser-Sánchez Effect Reconsidered. Water Resources Research, 40(6), W06S16.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Koundouri, P., & Christou, C. (2003). Dynamic adaptation to resource scarcity and backstop availability : Theory and Application to Groundwater. The Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 50, 227–245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Knapp, K., & Olson, L. (1995). The economics of cojunctive groundwater management with stochastic surface supplies. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 28, 340–356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Krishna, J. (1989). Cistern Water Systems in the US Virgin islands,. In Proceedings of 4th International Conference on Rainwater Cistern Systems, Manila, Philippines, (Vol. E2 pp. 1–11).Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Krulce, D.L., Roumasset, J.A., & Wilson, T (1997). Optimal management of a renewable and replaceable resource: The case of coastal groundwater. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 79(4), 1218–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Mas-Colell, A. (1979). Homeomorphims of compact, convex sets and the jacobian matrix. SIAM Journal of Mathematical Analysis, 10, 1105–1109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Negri, D.H. (1989). The common property aquifer as a differential game. Water Resources Research, 25, 9–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Nieswiadomy, M. (1985). The demand for irrigation water in the high plains of texas, 1957-1980. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 67(9), 619–626.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Perrens, S. (1975). Collection and storage strategies for domestic rainwater systems in Australia, Hydrology Papers, Institution of Engineers, Camberra, Australia.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Pongkijvorasin, S., & Roumasset, J. (2007). Optimal conjunctive use of surface and groundwater with recharge and return flows: Dynamic and spatial patterns, review of agricultural economics. Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, 29(3), 531–539.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Provencher, B. (1995). Issues in the conjunctive use of surface water and groundwater. In D. Bromley (Ed.) The handbook of environmental economics: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Provencher, B., & Burt, O. (1993). The externalities associated with the common property exploitation of groundwater. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 24, 139–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Ranganathan, C.R., & Palanisami, K. (2004). Modeling economics of conjunctive surface an groundwater irrigation systems. Irrigation and Drainage Systems, 18, 127–143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Roebuck, R.M. (2007). A whole life costing approach for rainwater harvesting systems, Ph.D. Thesis, (p. 546): Bradford University.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Roseta-palma, C. (2002). Groundwater management when Water Quality is Endogenous. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 44, 93–105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Rubio, S.J., & Casino, B. (2001). Competitive versus efficient extraction of a common property resource: The groundwater case. Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, 25, 1117–1137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Roumasset, J.A., & Wada, C.A. (2012). Ordering the extraction of renewable resources: the case of multiple aquifers. Resource and Energy Economics, 34, 112–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Soubeyran, R., Tidball, M., Tomini, A., & Erdlenbruch, K. (2012). (Anti-)coordination problems with scarce water resources. Environmental and Resource Economics, 62(1), 19–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Stahn H., & A. Tomini (2011). Rainwater harvesting under endogenous capacity of storage: a solution to aquifer preservation?. In Press Annals of Economics and Statistics.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Tsur, Y. (1997). Y the economics of conjunctive ground and surface water irrigation system : Basic principles and empirical evidence from southern california. In D. Parker, & Y. Tsur (Eds.), Decentralization and coordination of water resource management: Kluwer Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Tsur, Y. (1991). Graham-Tomasi The buffer value of groundwater with stochastic surface supplies. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 21, 201–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Vickner, S., Hoag, D., Frasier, W.M., & Ascough, J. (1998). A dynamic Economic Analysis of Nitrate Leaching in Corn Production under Nonuniform Irrigation Conditions. American Journal Agricultural Economics, 80, 397–408.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Xepapadeas, A.P. (1992). Environmental policy design and dynamic nonpoint-source pollution. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 23, 22–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Yadav, S. (1997). Dynamic optimization of nitrogen use when groundwater contamination is internalized at the standard in the long run. American journal of Agricultural Economics, 79, 931–945.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Zeitouni, N., & Dinar, A. (1997). Mitigating negative water quality and quality externalities by joint management of adjacent aquifers. Environmental and Resource Economics, 9, 1–20.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Aix-Marseille School of EconomicsAix-Marseille University: CNRS, & EHESSMarseilleFrance
  2. 2.Chateau LafargeGREQAMLes MillesFrance
  3. 3.Centre de la Vieille CharitéGREQAMMarseilleFrance

Personalised recommendations