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Water Costs and Values

Catchment jug picOur water resources have a number of competing pressures on them, and society values these resources in many ways, in terms of a financial cost, but also in terms of environmental, social and ethical concerns. How should we decide on which of the demands for water can, or should, be satisfied?

We all like to think clean, safe water should be available to everybody, but in many parts of the world this is not the case. In Scotland, legislation governs standards which water quality must meet. What happens if we can’t reach these targets? What if the cost of meeting them is disproportionately high in comparison with the benefits society will gain from it?

Working closely with our colleagues in the Socio-Economics Research Group we are developing a number of ways of assessing the ‘value’ of water, as well as trying to determine how willing people would be to pay to improve water quality. We look at some of the competing demands on water resources, and find out how people view the water environment, often by conducting surveys or holding focus groups, as well as using more traditional economic methods.

Who is working in this area?


Updated: 23 Jan 2024, Content by: MC