Water Companies' Service Performance and Environmental Trade-offs
Water companies have to ensure that supply and demand for water are kept in balance. This can necessitate the development of new sources of supply that may conflict with local wildlife interests. The paper reviews the policy background to this problem in the UK. It then presents an appraisal of a project to artificially recharge an aquifer with river water during the winter period, and abstract the water in the summer to augment shortages during drought conditions. The research investigates the preference trade-offs of water company customers between increasing security of supply and potential environmental impacts on local wetland sites and river flows. A cost-benefit analysis of the project is presented. The study also reveals a disparity between the site-specific valuation and that generated using the Environment Agency's approved benefit transfer guidelines.
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