Benefit Transfer for Irish Water

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Resource or Project Abstract

This report explores the use of benefit transfer (BT) techniques in placing a value on achieving GES (Good Ecological Status), as specified in the WFD, across water bodies in Ireland. Given that no major valuation exercises on water quality in Ireland have been conducted, BT will be crucial for estimating these benefit/cost ratios, and thus identifying cases of disproportionate costs for which derogations can be sought. This project aims to identify the most appropriate BT methodology to use in the Irish situation and apply it to a number of catchment policy sites. Benefit transfer involves taking valuation estimates from primary valuation studies and applying them to an alternative site where one is valuing the same environmental good or service as in the primary study. When analysed carefully, information from past studies published in the literature can form a meaningful basis for water management policy valuation through transferring values from a study site to a policy site. This study used a number of BT approaches to estimate the value of achieving GES under the WFD. It first carried out a simple unit BT (where the unadjusted willingness to pay [WTP] estimate from one or more study sites was used to apply their average value to the policy site) to estimate the value of achieving GES based on the change in water status across 151 water management units (WMUs) in Ireland. Next, an adjusted (for distance decay) BT unit transfer approach was used to measure the value of achieving GES for the Boyne catchment. A primary contingent valuation (CV) method estimate of the value of achieving GES in the Boyne was used to examine the transfer error arising from this BT. Finally, a BT function transfer approach was used to look at the value of a number of catchments achieving GES where the value function - with associated attribute coefficient values - used in the BT process was taken from a primary valuation study, and input information for the water bodies examined (in terms of the catchments? environmental attribute levels) was provided by experts in each river basin district. Overall, results show that the uncertainty in value transfers can be quite large. It can be argued however that the transfer errors calculated for the BT estimates for the Boyne catchment are not overly large when one compares them to estimates elsewhere in the literature. It could be argued that any BT estimates produced in order to quantify the benefit value of a water body achieving GES should only be used to compare the relative values across water bodies or where the demand for accuracy is relatively low. The use of BT estimates for making decisions in relation to disproportional costs at single sites is not recommended. In the limited cases where policy-makers feel that the costs of achieving GES may be higher than the aggregate benefits from such a policy intervention, then a primary survey should if at all possible be carried out to determine those aggregate benefit values as accurately as feasible

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Contact Information for This Resource

Dr. Stephen Hynes
National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG)

Dr. Daniel Norton
National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG)

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Attachment Name and Download Link
Offline Print Quality Version    STRIVE_94_Hynes_BenefitTransfer_prn.pdf  (4.25 Mb)
Project Report Optimised For Online Viewing    STRIVE_94_Hynes_BenefitTransfer_web.pdf  (1.35 Mb)

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Author(s)Hynes, S. Norton, D.
Title Of WebsiteSecure Archive For Environmental Research Data
Publication InformationBenefit Transfer for Irish Water
Name of OrganisationEnvironmental Protection Agency Ireland
Electronic Address or URL
Unique Identifier975deb23-1c2b-11e2-9700-005056ae0019
Date of AccessLast Updated on SAFER: 2024-06-25

An example of this citation in proper usage:

Hynes, S. Norton, D.   "Benefit Transfer for Irish Water". Associated datasets and digitial information objects connected to this resource are available at: Secure Archive For Environmental Research Data (SAFER) managed by Environmental Protection Agency Ireland (Last Accessed: 2024-06-25)


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Access Information For This Resource

SAFER-Data Display URL
Resource KeywordsBenefit Transfer Techniques, ?Good Ecological? Status Irish Water Bodies
EPA/ERTDI/STRIVE Project Code2010-SD-DS-1
EPA/ERTDI/STRIVE Project ThemeWater Quality
Resource Availability: Any User Can Download Files From This Resource
Limitations on the use of this ResourceAny attached datasets, data files, or information objects can be downloaded for further use in scientific applications under the condition that the source is properly quoted and cited in published papers, journals, websites, presentations, books, etc. Before downloading, users must agree to the "Conditions of Download and Access" from SAFER-Data. These appear before download. Users of the data should also communicate with the original authors/owners of this resource if they are uncertain about any aspect of the data or information provided before further usage.
Number of Attached Files (Publicly and Openly Available for Download): 2
Project Start Date Friday 1st January 2010 (01-01-2010)
Earliest Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Friday 1st January 2010 (01-01-2010)
Most Recent Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Monday 1st October 2012 (01-10-2012)
Published on SAFERMonday 22nd October 2012 (22-10-2012)
Date of Last EditMonday 22nd October 2012 at 10:57:06 (22-10-2012)
Datasets or Files Updated On Monday 22nd October 2012 at 10:57:06 (22-10-2012)

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Geographical and Spatial Information Related To This Resource

Description of Geographical Characteristics of This Project or Dataset
There are over 5,500 of these water bodies within Ireland so to undertake a BT study for each of these would be highly intensive in terms of information and time. Therefore, in an effort to balance the coarseness of the seven RBDs against the intensity of conducting BT for 5,500 water bodies, it was decided to focus on WMUs, of which there are 151 within the country. These are used by those in charge of implementing the WFD to develop sub-RBD plans for achieving GES. Based on the scale of the WMUs and their use, it was decided to undertake BT at this level

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Supplementary Information About This Resource

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Lineage information about this project or dataset
The aim of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) (2000/60/EC) (WFD) is ?to establish a framework for the protection of inland surface waters, transitional waters, coastal waters and ground waters?. The Directive calls for integrated catchment management plans to be prepared for all river basins in order to achieve ?good ecological status? (GES) in all EU waters by 2015. As such, the Directive aims at a minimum for a ?good? and ?non-deteriorating status? for surface, underground and coastal waters and sets common approaches and goals for water management in EU member states. An important element of the Directive is that it calls for a consideration of the economic costs and benefits of improvements to ecological status in catchment management plans, along with the introduction of full social cost pricing for water use. Hence, benefits play an important role in the assessment of the proportionality of costs in the implementation of the WFD. This report explores the use of benefit transfer (BT) techniques in placing a value on achieving GES, as specified in the WFD, across water bodies in Ireland.
Supplementary Information
The full set of authors of this report:
Daniel Norton 1, Stephen Hynes 1*, Edel Doherty 1, Cathal Buckley 2,
Danny Campbell 3 and Mavra Stithou 1

1. Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit, J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland;

2. Rural Economy Research Centre, Teagasc, Athenry, Galway, Ireland;

3. Institute of Agri-Food & Land Use, Queen?s University Belfast
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