Public preferences for water quality improvements: implications for the implementation of the EC Water Framework Directive in Scotland

K Glenk, M Lago, D Moran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The EC Water Framework Directive (WFD) sets ambitious quality targets for member state water bodies by 2015. The provisions are being transposed predominantly using a cost-effectiveness criterion, which raises questions about the relative balance of costs [of reaching good status (GS)] and corresponding (non-)market benefits or the economic efficiency of the legislation. This study provides an insight into public perceptions of water quality improvements based on an application of national characterisation data on the state of the water environment in Scotland. A choice experiment approach is used to quantify non-market benefits of achieving GS across Scottish rivers and lochs over varying timescales and different geographical levels, with the aim of revealing willingness-to-pay data that is specifically relevant for WFD implementation. We find that the benefits of implementing the WFD are substantial. Results show that geographical differences in preferences for national improvements in the river and loch water quality in Scotland exist, both in terms of magnitudes of benefit estimates and time preferences for improvements. These differences need to be taken into account in analyses at the river basin district or national level in order to support policy options for the implementation of the WFD across the country.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)645 - 662
Number of pages18
JournalWater Policy
Publication statusFirst published - 2011

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water
willingness to pay
river
cost
legislation
river basin
directive
water quality improvement
public
timescale
water quality
market
economics
experiment
policy
water body

Bibliographical note

1023337

Keywords

  • EC Water Framework Directive
  • Public preferences
  • Scotland
  • Water
  • Water quality

Cite this

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AU - Lago, M

AU - Moran, D

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N2 - The EC Water Framework Directive (WFD) sets ambitious quality targets for member state water bodies by 2015. The provisions are being transposed predominantly using a cost-effectiveness criterion, which raises questions about the relative balance of costs [of reaching good status (GS)] and corresponding (non-)market benefits or the economic efficiency of the legislation. This study provides an insight into public perceptions of water quality improvements based on an application of national characterisation data on the state of the water environment in Scotland. A choice experiment approach is used to quantify non-market benefits of achieving GS across Scottish rivers and lochs over varying timescales and different geographical levels, with the aim of revealing willingness-to-pay data that is specifically relevant for WFD implementation. We find that the benefits of implementing the WFD are substantial. Results show that geographical differences in preferences for national improvements in the river and loch water quality in Scotland exist, both in terms of magnitudes of benefit estimates and time preferences for improvements. These differences need to be taken into account in analyses at the river basin district or national level in order to support policy options for the implementation of the WFD across the country.

AB - The EC Water Framework Directive (WFD) sets ambitious quality targets for member state water bodies by 2015. The provisions are being transposed predominantly using a cost-effectiveness criterion, which raises questions about the relative balance of costs [of reaching good status (GS)] and corresponding (non-)market benefits or the economic efficiency of the legislation. This study provides an insight into public perceptions of water quality improvements based on an application of national characterisation data on the state of the water environment in Scotland. A choice experiment approach is used to quantify non-market benefits of achieving GS across Scottish rivers and lochs over varying timescales and different geographical levels, with the aim of revealing willingness-to-pay data that is specifically relevant for WFD implementation. We find that the benefits of implementing the WFD are substantial. Results show that geographical differences in preferences for national improvements in the river and loch water quality in Scotland exist, both in terms of magnitudes of benefit estimates and time preferences for improvements. These differences need to be taken into account in analyses at the river basin district or national level in order to support policy options for the implementation of the WFD across the country.

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