Universitat Rovira i Virgili

The Art of Sharing Resources: How to Distribute Water during a Drought Period

Article  - 

Cano-Berlanga, S., Solís-Baltodano, M.J. and Vilella, C. (2023): "The Art of Sharing Resources: How to Distribute Water during a Drought Period", Games

Water scarcity is a growing problem in many regions worldwide. According to the United Nations, around one-fifth of the world's population lives in areas where water is scarce. Another one-quarter of the world's population must face water supply cuts, mainly because this proportion of the population lacks the necessary infrastructure to acquire water from rivers and aquifers (UN, 2005). Water is a resource that is essential to human survival and is also present in all productive processes in the economy. Therefore, we are challenged to adequately manage water to ensure the population's well-being and to achieve socioeconomic development.

Specifically, this paper analyses the situation present in the summer of 2022 at Riudecanyes (a village in Catalonia, Spain), where a drought problem exists. We propose applying the conflicting claims problem theory to give possible solutions to distribute the water. We propose to use this theory to describe the distribution of the available irrigation hours in 2022, considering the demand made by the farmers in the previous year, when there was regular irrigation. In our scenario, we considered using claims problems solutions to propose an initial water allocation to achieve better resource use and to provide farmers with the necessary amount for their crops. In doing so, we considered the water shortage problem as a claims problem. We applied some solutions, called rules, and compared their proposals based on an inequality. For this, we use the Gini index of inequality. We also use some socially accepted axioms to obtain the best solution. As a consequence, we ascertained that the constrained equal awards rule (CEA) is the one that works best from both perspectives regarding axiomatic analysis and inequality.

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