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Water markets and trading have played a key role in allocating scarce water resources. The flexibility and autonomy offered by water trading has increased agricultural production, helped farmers and communities to survive severe drought, and provided the mechanism for recovering water for the environment.

Governments still have a vital role to play in improving the efficient functioning of the market, and managing the unintended consequences of trade.

In publishing this history, the commission hopes to promote a better understanding of the benefits of water reforms, together with the sustained commitment and leadership required to achieve long-term gains.

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