Municipal Groundwater Management: Optimal Allocation and Control of a Renewable Natural Resource

Karthik Murali, Michael K. Lim, Nicholas C. Petruzzi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


We study a municipal groundwater management problem to determine optimal allocation and control policies in the presence of water transfer opportunities. We establish and characterize threshold polices governing export or import decisions of a given municipality. In the spirit of the Triple Bottom Line (3BL), we ascertain that exporting (importing) water through a water market defined by an exogenous export/import price is detrimental (beneficial) to both society and the environment within the municipality. In contrast, fixed quantity trading between two municipalities defined by an endogenously negotiated export/import price can have positive as well as negative impacts from a global 3BL perspective. In particular, typical trading scenarios that occur between municipalities can be detrimental to the environment. We also study the implications of privatization, and find that a privatized municipality would be more (less) likely to export (import) water as compared to its non-privatized counterpart, resulting in negative implications for society within the municipality. However, if exports are banned, privatization can benefit the environment by mitigating the damage caused by the extraction differential, a phenomenon analogous to the green paradox. Moreover, careful and restricted privatization of municipalities can lead to positive global 3BL impacts from fixed quantity trading.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1453-1472
Number of pages20
JournalProduction and Operations Management
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015


  • Triple Bottom Line
  • groundwater management
  • privatization
  • water transfers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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