Cooperative Game Theory in Water Resources

by Morris Israel, Univ of California, Davis, United States,
Jay R. Lund, Univ of California, Davis, United States,
Gerald T. Orlob, Univ of California, Davis, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Water Policy and Management: Solving the Problems


This paper presents a game theoretic framework for reassessing the operation and management of existing multi-purpose water projects subject to competing and conflicting water uses. Implicit in the approach is the notion that the physical and technical feasibility of a proposed reallocation alternative may be a secondary criterion in the overall evaluation. Of greater relevance in the evaluation process may be that different alternatives require different levels and types of institutional and legal support for implementation and varying levels of coordination among the competing parties. Solution concepts from cooperative game theory are used to identify politically and institutionally promising alternatives for reallocating regional water resources. Special attention is given to institutional mechanisms available for establishing the binding agreements necessary for transforming conflicts into cooperative games. The proposed approach is applied to the water use conflicts in the Truckee-Carson Basin, Nevada.

Subject Headings: Water resources | Game theory | Dispute resolution | Construction management | Feasibility studies | Legal affairs | Agreements and treaties | Resource management | Nevada | United States

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