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Does a cleaner thames pass an economic appraisal?: the value of reducing sewage overflows in the River Thames

Mourato, Susana, Atkinson, Giles, Ozdemiroglu, Ece, Newcombe, Jodi and De Garis, Yvette (2005) Does a cleaner thames pass an economic appraisal?: the value of reducing sewage overflows in the River Thames. Water International, 30 (2). pp. 174-183. ISSN 0250-8060

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Due to substantial clean-up efforts, water quality in the River Thames in London has steadily improved over the last three decades. However, London's Victorian sewage system still discharges untreated sewage into the Thames, at times of moderate to heavy rainfall. This happens approximately 60 times every year, creating adverse environmental and amenity impacts on the river. Major and costly engineering works will be required to solve the sewage overflow problem. This paper reports the results of a stated preference study designed to value the multiple non-market benefits—eductions in sewage litter, risk to human health, and risk to fish populations—associated with a range of potential engineering solutions. Our findings indicate that household willingness to pay for these benefits is likely to be significantly greater than the projected costs per household of, at least, some potential technical solutions. Although arguably justifiable on economic grounds, the final decision on whether to proceed with such a large infrastructure project is unlikely to depend wholly on cost-benefit thinking, but involve complex trade-offs with other socially desirable criteria.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2005 International Water Resources Association
Library of Congress subject classification: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Journal of Economic Literature Classification System: Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics > Q5 - Environmental Economics > Q52 - Pollution Control Costs; Distributional Effects; Employment Effects
Sets: Departments > Geography and Environment
Collections > Economists Online
Date Deposited: 29 Jan 2009 11:52

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