Since 1982, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has used benefit-cost analysis to evaluate many of its surface water quality regulations. Early regulations were aimed at controlling conventional and toxic pollutants that were directly linked to highly visible water quality problems. More recent regulations have focused on “unconventional” water quality stressors or more subtle distinctions in water quality. While a number of national-scale water quality models have been used over the years, there has been less exploration of economic models to estimate benefits. This article addresses three issues that have been particularly challenging in estimating the benefits from water quality improvement: defining standardized measures of water quality improvement, measuring benefits arising from ecological protection and restoration, and measuring nonuse benefits.
Keywords: Q22; Q51; Q53; Q57; Q58
Journal Article. 7711 words.
Subjects: Environmental Economics ; Renewable Resources and Conservation
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