Water is increasingly recognized as an economic good. The policies recognizing water as an economic good will reach a sustainable and equitable result only if it is preceded by the implementation of a strong governmental and institutional framework recognizing that it is also a human right and an environmental resource. While some water resource economists have recognized this fundamental point at the domestic level, institutional aspects at the international level are usually overlooked. This work argues that it is necessary to design appropriate institutional frameworks to accompany the recognition of water as an economic good in international river basins

The fact that international trade rules are increasingly applied to water resources reveals the lack of definition and enforcement of international watercourses' property regimes. Policy recommendations are drawn from the study of two federal cases: the Colorado River Basin and the Murray-Darling Basin where market-based mechanisms have recently been discussed and introduced