Price Rationing

  • Donald E. Agthe
  • R. Bruce Billings
Part of the Water Science and Technology Library book series (WSTL, volume 46)


A scarce good can only be obtained by giving up something else or by paying a positive price for it. In most urban areas, water is a scarce good and is therefore subject to the laws and principles of economics. In particular, the quantity of water taken from the market by any given buyer or group of buyers is influenced by the price that must be paid. The price of water, in its most general sense, includes not only monetary payments, but the time and energy expended to obtain that water. For example, if a person must drive or walk some distance to buy water, the price includes the value of time spent as well as the monetary payment. As urban water becomes increasingly scarce, price can be used to allocate its use efficiently among its many competing end uses. Prices can also be used to encourage the meeting of community social goals with regard to the availability and use of water.


Marginal Cost Demand Curve Urban Water Supply Curve Urban Water Supply 
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Suggestions for Additional Reading

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donald E. Agthe
  • R. Bruce Billings
    • 1
  1. 1.University of ArizonaUSA

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