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Cost–Benefit Analysis and Water Resources Management

Edited by Roy Brouwer and David Pearce

How are the economic values of water and water quality accounted for in policy and project appraisal? This important book gives an overview of the state-of-the-art in Cost–Benefit Analysis (CBA) in water resources management throughout Europe and North America, along with an examination of current applications.
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Chapter 10: Benefit–cost Analysis of Regulations Affecting Surface Water Quality in the United States

C. Griffiths and W. Wheeler


10. Benefit–cost analysis of regulations affecting surface water quality in the United States C. Griffiths and W. Wheeler1 1. INTRODUCTION There are a number of departments within the Federal Government of the United States that deal with water quality. The Department of Interior manages the nation’s western water resources and hydrological science, primarily though the US Geological Survey (USGS), which collects, analyses, and disseminates information about the quality of the nation’s surface and groundwater resources. The Department of Agriculture helps landowners protect their natural resources through its Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), which helps landowners develop and carry out voluntary efforts to improve water quality and reduce upstream flooding. The Department of Commerce includes as part of its mission understanding the benefits of the Earth’s physical environment and oceanic resources. This effort is carried out by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which is responsible for monitoring and forecasting the environmental quality of the nation’s coastal and ocean areas, assessing the damage caused by spills in these areas, and protecting the nation’s living marine resources. The Department of Transportation establishes the nation’s overall transportation policy, which includes enforcing laws relating to the protection of the marine environment, through the Coast Guard (NARA, 2002). Although these departments may have a hand in affecting the nation’s water quality, it falls to an independent agency, that is, not an ‘Executive Department’, to pass the majority of the water quality regulation in the USA. The Environmental...

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