Benefit-Cost Evaluation of Minimum Instream Flows

by Les K. Lampe, Black & Veatch, St. Louis, MO, USA,
Newton V. Colston, Black & Veatch, St. Louis, MO, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Water Forum '86: World Water Issues in Evolution


In many cases, determinations of minimum desirable instream flows (MIF) are made without full consideration of economic costs and benefits. Benefits are frequently quantified in nonmonetary terms while the associated costs are frequently ignored. Benefits pertain to a greater degree of fulfillment of instream flow uses, such as maintenance of aquatic habitats, enhancement of recreational opportunities, or improvement in general stream aesthetics. The principal cost component associated with maintaining minimum instream flows is generally the costs to out-of-stream water users for obtaining new or supplemental supplies to replace the flows dedicated to instream uses. Additional costs may be incurred in purchasing water rights or constructing reservoirs to enhance minimum streamflows.

Subject Headings: Benefit cost ratios | Instream flow | Water resources | Water flow | Resource management | Maintenance | Water-based recreation | Rivers and streams

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