Levelling the playing field: A case study of how non-market values can compete in policy debates over wastewater allocation in a semi-arid region

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In this paper we describe how benefits are transferred from previous non-market valuation research to inform the public policy debate on the allocation of treated wastewater to Riparian Projects in the semi-arid city of Tucson, Arizona, United States. Specifically, we transfer property premiums associated with proximity to riparian habitat to two proposed, and one accidental, urban Riparian Project. The study demonstrates that nearby property owners would likely benefit from wastewater reuse in riparian corridor restoration projects. Furthermore, the variable costs of supplying supplementary treated wastewater to one of the Riparian Projects are covered by incremental property tax revenues. We conclude that there is a window of opportunity to utilize a portion of Tucson's treated wastewater, over half of which is currently discharged at the northern end of the city, for additional in-town riparian restoration projects. Such riparian restoration projects also provide a mechanism for Endangered Species Act compliance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-321
Number of pages11
JournalPolicy and Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011

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