Using Benefit Transfer Techniques to Estimate the Value of achieving ‘Good Ecological’ Status in Irish Water Bodies
Summary: STRIVE Report 94 - Daniel Norton, Stephen Hynes, Edel Doherty, Cathal Buckley, Danny Campbell & Mavra Stithou
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The aim of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) (2000/60/EC) (WFD) is ‘to establish a framework for the protection of inland surface waters, transitional waters, coastal waters and ground waters’. The Directive calls for integrated catchment management plans to be prepared for all river basins in order to achieve ‘good ecological status’ (GES) in all EU waters by 2015. As such, the Directive aims at a minimum for a ‘good’ and ‘non-deteriorating status’ for surface, underground and coastal waters and sets common approaches and goals for water management in EU member states.
An important element of the Directive is that it calls for a consideration of the economic costs and benefits of improvements to ecological status in catchment management plans, along with the introduction of full social cost pricing for water use. Hence, benefits play an important role in the assessment of the proportionality of costs in the implementation of the WFD. This report explores the use of benefit transfer (BT) techniques in placing a value on achieving GES, as specified in the
WFD, across water bodies in Ireland. Given that no major valuation exercises on water quality in Ireland have been conducted, BT will be crucial for estimating these benefit/cost ratios, and thus identifying cases of disproportionate costs for which derogations can be sought.