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Water companies and river environments: the external costs of water abstraction

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Ken Willis, Professor Guy Garrod


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This paper assesses the external costs of water abstraction from rivers, and underlying aquifers, by water companies. It uses contingent valuation and stated preference methods to estimate the magnitude of benefits to anglers and the general public from increasing river flows to an environmentally acceptable flow regime from the current low flow situation caused by over-abstraction. The paper also assesses whether these benefits exceed the costs to water companies of replacing the water from elsewhere plus the additional cost to the Environment Agency of engaging in other engineering operations to alleviate low flows in rivers in southwest England. Whether low flows should be alleviated in any low flow river in benefit-cost terms, is revealed to be mainly dependent upon costs rather than variations in benefits to anglers and the general public between rivers.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Willis KG, Garrod GD

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Utilities Policy

Year: 1998

Volume: 7

Issue: 1

Pages: 35-45

Print publication date: 01/03/1998

ISSN (print): 0957-1787

ISSN (electronic): 1878-4356

Publisher: Pergamon


DOI: 10.1016/S0957-1787(97)00028-3


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