Edited by Jeff Bennett
Chapter 5: The Role of Water Quality Perceptions in Modelling Lake Recreation Demand
Yongsik Jeon, Joseph A. Herriges, Catherine L. Kling and John Downing I INTRODUCTION According to the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (USEPA) 2000 National Water Quality Inventory (2002), 46 per cent of the country’s lake acres are categorized as ‘impaired’ based on physical measures of their water quality. In the state of Iowa, the problem is no better. Indeed, over half of the 132 lakes included in the Iowa Lake Valuation Project are on the USEPA’s impaired list (USEPA, water quality inventory for the state of Iowa, 2003).1 Despite their apparently deteriorated conditions, these same lakes are used extensively by Iowans for recreational boating, fishing, swimming, and so on. Approximately 62 per cent of all Iowa households visited at least one of the 132 lakes in 2002, with an average of eight day-trips per year (Azevedo et al., 2003). At the same time, the study’s survey respondents indicated that water quality was the most important factor they consider when choosing a lake for recreation. This raises the question as to whether there is a disconnect between the physical characteristics of the individual lakes as measured by scientists and how those characteristics are perceived by the typical household. As Ditton and Goodale (1973) suggest, physical water quality variables may not necessarily measure the qualities that attract or deter recreation users. The question is what form of quality attributes drives an individual’s site choice decision: physical measures or quality perceptions (or both)? A related issue of interest is whether individual water quality...
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