Water Economics and Policy Extension Program

Did you know?

In a year, Floridians use enough water to fill Lake Okeechobee - twice!  That's more than 2.4 trillion gallons of water.

Sources: http://www.floridasprings.org/learn/journey/getting/ and http://www.protectingourwater.org/watersheds/map/lake_okeechobee/

In Florida, water seems to be everywhere, and yet, there is not enough!

Similar to a kid taking cookies out of a cookie jar, we are withdrawing water from the aquifers (our underground “reservoirs” and “rivers” of freshwater) without regard for limits.  The years of pumping water from Florida's aquifers has reduced water levels, and with more and more people calling Florida home, finding enough water to satisfy demand has become a challenge.

Water Economics and Policy Program focuses on delivering information to Florida public about:

  • economic value of services provided to different economic sectors by water resources
  • impacts and effectiveness of residential and agricultural water conservation programs and projects
  • costs and benefits of water resource management programs and projects
  • design of innovative policies to improve water quality and water allocation among various types of use
  • public attitudes and opinions about various water resource challenges


Contributing Faculty

Tatiana Borisova
Alan Hodges
Xiang Bi
Kelly Grogan
Mike Olexa

Additional Resources

UF Water Institute


Why is water economics important? Almost daily, a myriad of decisions are made on local, regional, state, and national levels, directly or indirectly impacting water resources. Water economics helps express all decision or project outcomes in the same metrics – dollar terms. Using the methods for comprehensive analysis of decision outcomes offered by economics, communities and decision makers, we can arrive at a more acceptable and balanced decision about water policies. 

Changing human behavior and practices is an important step to protect and restore our water resources. Water economics offers a menu of tools and innovative policies to influence our choices and find more cost-effective solutions to water resources challenges such as market-based payment for ecosystem service provision, conservation water pricing, etc. Water economics also provides a set of methods to compare and evaluate alternative policy designs.

Our activities:

  • We work directly with stakeholder groups conducting applied research and delivering information to answer questions relevant to specific programs, projects and issues.
  • We implement outreach and educational programs to deliver the latest science-based information to people in Florida through such UF/IFAS programs including Water Schools for Decision Makers, and Florida Watershed Stewardship Program.
  • We work with the county Extension faculty to help them share water economics information relevant to their community.