Demand and Supply — a Brief Overview


Between 1900 and 1995 global water consumption rose six-fold, from 920 to 5’500 billion cubic metres, which is more than double the rate of population growth. One can expect that due to the extended use of irrigation systems in the agricultural sector, global industrial growth and changed individual habits, such development will continue in the nearer future. According to the World Commission on Water, the water use will increase by about 50 percent in the next 30 years (see World Bank, 2004, p. 1). The allocation of water use will continue to vary significantly between regions and nations. Today more than 20 percent of the world’s population do not have access to safe drinking water. According to the World Bank approximately one half of the people in the developing world are suffering from a sickness associated with bad water (see World Bank, 2004, p. 1). In contrast, total annual per capita water consumption in the United States amounts to l’900 m3. However, consumption varies significantly between industrialised nations. In Luxembourg for instance, per capita consumption amounts to only 160 m3. Obviously such differences are mainly driven by differences in the economic structure. In industrialised countries, household water consumption amounts to an average of only 5 percent of total consumption, industrial consumption to 65 percent and agricultural consumption to 30 percent (see OECD, 1999, p. 15). In order to have a more detailed view about water consumption, respectively water demand in industrialised countries, it is worth to analyse these three components of water use more detailed. However, this book focuses on the first component, residential use, and only some parts of the second component, industrial, respectively non-residential use.


Water Consumption Water Demand Price Elasticity Water Utility Income Elasticity 
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© Deutscher Universitäts-Verlag | GWV Fachverlage GmbH, Wiesbaden 2006

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