Economic Valuation of River Systems

Economic Valuation of River Systems

New Horizons in Environmental Economics series

Edited by Fred J. Hitzhusen

The book applies benefit–cost analysis and a wide array of non-market and distribution economic valuation methods in ecologic context to determine the pay-off and distribution impacts of various infrastructure and water quality improvements to eight river systems in the Great Lakes region of the US. The generally positive results have important implications for public policy and future research.

Preface

Edited by Fred J. Hitzhusen

Subjects: economics and finance, environmental economics, valuation, environment, environmental economics, valuation, water

Extract

This book reports on a large, eight-year research program at The Ohio State University to develop estimates of the benefits and costs of various water quality, infrastructure, scenic and historic river corridor impacts and improvements as a guide to economic analysis and public policy on river and related watershed restoration. The research is focused on evaluation of rivers in the Great Lakes region of the United States and involves a team of environmental economists, an ecological engineer and an aquatic biologist. When the various corridor impact or improvement benefits or values broadly conceived are expressed in a common economic metric and compared to their full economic costs, one has a basis for assessing river corridors in an economic development, welfare economic and public policy context. Rivers have the potential to play an important role in the development of an economically depressed region by providing water supply, transportation, waste assimilation, and a wide array of recreation and tourism activities. The earliest civilizations were developed along rivers for the rich farmland along their banks and easy transportation. Irrigation of farm lands and water-powered industry were followed by large dams and locks for irrigation, residential and industrial water supply, recreation boating and fishing, hydroelectric power and barge transportation of products. Rivers as a source of waste disposal are increasingly in conflict with water supply, recreation and tourism, and major intra- and inter-country conflicts exist over the use rights to large river systems. Thus, the river corridor system or basin...