Welfare Perception Assessment of Reclaimed Water Reuse in Competitor Ecosystem

  1. Zabala, J.A. 1
  2. De Miguel, María Dolores 1
  3. Alcón Provencio, Francisco José 1
  1. 1 Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena

    Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena

    Cartagena, España

    ROR https://ror.org/02k5kx966

Conference of Water Reuse and Salinity Management: Murcia del 11 al 15 de junio de 2018

Year of publication: 2018

Type: Conference paper


Reusing water may significantly mitigate water-scarce problems and generate sustainable water management strategies. Water may become reused and incorporated as a primary resource in different ecosystems, such as agricultural, wetlands and river ecosystems, providing food and improving the river flow and the biodiversity development. Besides this, guaranteeing the effectiveness of reclaimed water reuse programs requires not only technical concerns, but also social ones. The fact of supplying reclaimed water to ecosystems increase their ecosystem services flows, which is directly translated into terms of social welfare. In this context, this study aims to explore the factors that determinate the different perceptions about welfare impact of suppling reclaimed water to different ecosystems in the Segura River Basin (southern Spain): agroecosystem (agricultural irrigation) and river (getting a higher river flow). In order to get this purpose, analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Pearson’s Chi-Square tests of independence have been applied to the results of a contingent valuation exercise, where the population of the Murcia Region valued the global ecosystem services of using reclaimed water in both ecosystems. Therefore, differences on welfare perceptions concerning both water reuse options based on individual sociodemographic characteristics and their relation with these ecosystems have been determined. The results show four different groups of respondents, depending on their WTP preferences, i.e. for just only one reuse program, both or neither. The factors that identify differences among groups are the age, the proximity of the household to the river, the amount of money paid by each household at its monthly water bill, and its degree of satisfaction with funding reclaiming water. The analysis of the positive WTP show that, jointly, the mean monetary WTP for reusing water to improving river flow is only 3% higher than to agricultural irrigation, being gender the main factor that may explain the differences, insomuch as women are more willing to pay for environmental improvements. This study contributes to broaden information about individuals’ heterogeneous preferences toward water reuse options, which is crucial for policy makers in the setting of socially accepted and sustainable resource management strategies