Does Water Efficiency Reduce Water Consumption? The Economy-Wide Water Rebound Effect

  • Jaume Freire-GonzálezEmail author


Governments stimulate efficiency measures to save water resources, particularly in areas with high water stress and those that experience droughts. However, economic theory and some empirical studies tell us that the effects of efficiency improvements of a resource may not lead to a global reduction in the use of that resource. We assess the effects of improving water resources productivity in Spain on the global use of water using a dynamic water-economy computable general equilibrium model. We set an overall annual improvement of water efficiency of 50% and find that the economy-wide water rebound effect is 100.47%. This means that there are no savings of water after an efficiency improvement, and there is actually a slight global increase in water use.


Water economics Efficiency Rebound effect Computable general equilibrium 



The author would like to thank the financial support from the Government of Catalonia, Agència de gestió d’Ajuts Universitaris i Recerca, through a Beatriu de Pinós Fellowship (2017 BP 00009).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest



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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ENT FoundationVilanova i la GeltrúSpain

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