Willingness to pay for water quality and supply enhancements in the Grand River watershed

This paper reports the results of a large contingent valuation survey to estimate the social benefits of water quality improvements in the watershed. Early results indicate a willingness to pay (WTP) for residential water quality improvements of up to $4.50 per household per month (19% of the average water bill), with a somewhat lower value for preserving the environmental quality of parkland in the watershed. Using a 5% discount rate, this translates into a demand for water quality projects in the region with a capital value of nearly 91100 per household. The narrowness of the estimated range of WTP values, and their similarity to values found in other studies, suggests that our estimates are a reliable measure of the monetary value of social benefits from water quality improvements in the region. The main socio-economic determinants of willingness to pay appear to be household income, number of children, perception of existing water quality, and awareness of environmental issues on the part of survey respondents.

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About Eric Miller

I am an Ecological Economist, currently working as a consulting economist and university lecturer. Most of my career has been in the Ontario and federal public service. About half of my work these days relates to ecosystem services: communicating the concept, assessing available information, and proposing ways to integrate the concept and measurement into policies and programs. I earned an MES in Ecological Macroeconomics from York University, a BA in Economics from McMaster University and a BSc in Biology from Carleton University.

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