Issues in Balancing Environmental Costs and Benefits in Water Resources Planning

by Marjorie McRae, Barakat & Chamberlin, Inc, Oakland, United States,
Julie Hashem, Barakat & Chamberlin, Inc, Oakland, United States,
Erik Haites, Barakat & Chamberlin, Inc, Oakland, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Hydraulic Engineering


Water projects differ in their physical and economic characteristics and their environmental impacts. Many environmental impacts are addressed through project design and these associated costs are reflected in project costs. Residual environmental impacts are called `externalities' because the people who pay for the resource are not necessarily the same people who receive the benefits or incur the losses from the environmental effects. This paper discusses reasons why planners and builders might want to consider unregulated environmental effects in their resource selection. It explores how nonregulated environmental costs and benefits can be balanced in water resource planning, drawing parallels with the techniques that the electric power industry.

Subject Headings: Environmental issues | Water resources | Benefit cost ratios | Hydro power | Electric power | Sustainable development | Professional societies | Industries

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