Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Study offers new tool for incorporating water impacts into policy decisions

Date:
November 12, 2012
Source:
University of Minnesota
Summary:
A new policy-making framework provides a tool for assessing and valuing the many services clean water provides -- from recreation and beauty to navigation and hydropower -- and incorporating them into policy decisions.

If you've eaten fish, gone for a boat ride or even taken a drink from the tap, you know clean water is a valuable commodity. But just how valuable? That's always been a tough question for policy makers to answer as they weigh the worth of clean water against societal needs that compromise it, such as the need to grow food or produce fossil fuels. Now, however, their ability to do so has been greatly enhanced by a new policy-making framework developed by a team of scientists led by Bonnie Keeler, research associate at the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment.

The framework, published in the Nov. 6 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provides a tool for assessing and valuing the many services clean water provides -- from recreation and beauty to navigation and hydropower -- and incorporating them into policy decisions.

"After repeated requests for information on the value of water quality, we realized that there was a huge gap between the demand for economic values of water quality and our ability to provide tools to estimate those values. This gap limits our ability to make informed decisions," Keeler said. "We provide a framework that describes the numerous pathways in which changes in water quality affect our health, recreation and livelihoods and the economic value of those changes. This yields a far more accurate picture of the costs and benefits of decisions."

Using funding from an IonE mini grant, Keeler and colleagues from the University of Minnesota, The Nature Conservancy and the University of Arkansas began by developing a decision-making template that links actions, changes in water quality, changes in a spectrum of ecosystem goods and services, and changes in the economic value that accrues from the changes in ecosystem goods and services. They then outlined a five-step plan policy makers can use to apply the template to on-the-ground decisions around water issues.

"There will never be a single number that describes the value of clean water in all places and contexts," Keeler said. "What our paper proposes is a way for users to link tools from ecology and economics to get value estimates that are specific to their location and sets of alternative actions. Ideally these values can then factor into incentive programs, cost-benefit studies and payment programs for ecosystem services."

The University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment seeks lasting solutions to Earth's biggest challenges through research, partnerships and leadership development. For more information, visit environment.umn.edu.

Keeler is a Ph.D. candidate with the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering, a joint department of the university's College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences and the College of Science and Engineering.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Minnesota. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. B. L. Keeler, S. Polasky, K. A. Brauman, K. A. Johnson, J. C. Finlay, A. O'Neill, K. Kovacs, B. Dalzell. Linking water quality and well-being for improved assessment and valuation of ecosystem services. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2012; 109 (45): 18619 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1215991109

Cite This Page:

University of Minnesota. "Study offers new tool for incorporating water impacts into policy decisions." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121112135656.htm>.
University of Minnesota. (2012, November 12). Study offers new tool for incorporating water impacts into policy decisions. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121112135656.htm
University of Minnesota. "Study offers new tool for incorporating water impacts into policy decisions." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121112135656.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Climate Change Rally Held in India Ahead of UN Summit

Climate Change Rally Held in India Ahead of UN Summit

AFP (Sep. 20, 2014) Some 125 world leaders are expected to commit to action on climate change at a UN summit Tuesday called to inject momentum in struggling efforts to tackle global warming. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Jars, bottles, caps and even a pizza box, recovered from the trash, were the elements used by four musical groups at the "RSFEST2014 Sonorities Recycling Festival", in Colombian city of Cali. Duration: 00:49 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) An out-of-control Northern California wildfire has nearly 2,800 people from their homes as it continues to grow, authorities said Thursday. Authorities said a man has been arrested on suspicion of arson for starting the fire on Saturday. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins