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close this bookFAO Irrigation and Drainage Paper 52 Reforming water resources policy A guide to methods, processes and practices (1995)
close this folderChapter 3 - Principles
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentWater as a scarce resource
View the documentPrinciples for water planning and allocation
View the documentEffectiveness
View the documentEfficiency
View the documentEquity and distributional effects
View the documentPublic health and nutrition
View the documentEnvironmental impact
View the documentFiscal impact
View the documentPolitical and public acceptability
View the documentSustainability
View the documentAdministrative feasibility
View the documentPolicy reform in agriculture
Open this folder and view contentsStrategic choices and trade-offs
View the documentPolicy mix

Policy mix

Doing nothing, or postponing any changes, is always an option, and may be perfectly rational in some cases. However, while the costs of inaction should not be ignored, it offers a useful reference against which to judge the impacts of proposed policy actions. If action is to be taken, a basic choice is between supply-oriented policies and those focusing on demand management.

A further option is the use of 'command and control' measures (regulations, quotas, instructions) rather than economic instruments relying on incentives (prices, taxes, fees, markets). In practice, the choice will be over the balance between the two types of measure, both of which are necessary.