Applied Economics Teaching Resources

Agricultural and Applied Economics Association

Teaching and Educational Methods

Teaching Water Economics in a Desert Environment

Slim Zekri(a)
Sultan Qaboos University

JEL Codes: Q1, Q2 and Q5
Keywords: Demand management, supply augmentation, water markets, desalination, water energy-nexus

Publish Date: April 18, 2023
Volume 5, Issue 2

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Teaching water economics in a desert environment is less complex than in other environments. Economic methods dealing with the interaction between surface and groundwater, surface water pollution, water for nature, and hydropower are not in need in desert environments. The course focuses on demand-side policies such as quantity restriction, rate setting, technology adoption, and comparisons of policies oriented toward reducing water demand and addressing the wasteful use of water. Often adopting water-saving technologies have the ability to reduce demand without decreasing users’ utility. We discuss the right of access to water and fairness. The course addresses the rationale for supply-side policies implemented in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. We emphasize the environmental impacts and energy requirements of desalination as limits. Alternative sources of water for cities, such as the expansion of existing agricultural water markets to encompass trade between farmers and cities is explored. The course looks into the social impediments of treated wastewater recycling in farming. The course is taught since 2011 to undergraduate students in the form of lectures and lab work with the support of videos and flipped classroom. During the last weeks of the course, each student presents to the class a paper on the main issues addressed.

About the Author: Slim Zekri is a Professor at Sultan Qaboos University in the Sultanate of Oman (Corresponding author email: Acknowledgments: The author is grateful to three anonymous reviewers and to the guest editors of this special issue for

Copyright is governed under Creative Commons CC BY-NC-SA


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