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Water is an increasingly scarce resource in developed regions all over the world. Current methods to allocate it are not economically or environmentally efficient, but water markets offer one potential solution in the form of a regulatory response to water scarcity. The debate on water markets is often polarized. Proponents of water markets portray them as systems where government is out of the picture, but some oppose markets because they believe water should not be commodified but administered by public agencies. Casado-Perez argues that both sides of the debate are misguided, and that water markets require a deeper and more varied governmental intervention than markets for other goods. Drawing on economic theories of regulation based on market failure, she offers an explanation of the different roles government should play to ensure a functioning water market, and suggests that governments might have to take a leading role if a water market is to work properly. To analyse what impact roles government actually have on water markets operation, Casado-Perez examines case studies of California and Spain to assess the success of their water markets. She explores in depth why water markets have been more extensively institutionalized in California than in Spain in the ten years since they were introduced, and how the role of government in each study impacts water market operation. This unique analysis of governmental role in water markets, alongside quantitative studies of California and Spain, offers valuable scholarship in this increasingly important topic and will be of interest to students, practitioners and policymakers in water law.