Innovative Policies to Optimize the Allocation of Water Quality and Conservation Investments and Maximize Multiple Benefits

East Pass of the Suwannee River. Photo by Elliot White Jr. (UF/Department of Environmental Engineering Sciences)

Sponsor USDA NIFA Award Dates 03/2015 – 03/2018

Participants

Project Lead: Grogan, Kelly A Project Participants:  Xiang Bi; Tatiana Borisova; Alan Hodges; Christopher Martinez

Goals and Objectives

This project focuses on the Lower Suwannee and Santa Fe River Basin (LSSFRB) in northern Florida. We propose to estimate the economic value of water in agricultural and in-stream (recreational) uses by examining the feasibility of a market-based payment program for ecosystem service provision. The basin’s large recreational user base provides an opportunity to transfer benefits from users to those who undertake water quality/quantity investments. Changes in on-farm water use and water management can lead to water use reductions, increased aquifer recharge rates, and surface and ground water quality improvements. To achieve this overarching goal, we will use the SWAT hydrological and water quality model to determine how changes in production practices and crops will affect water quality and flow, and examine the kinds and levels of changes that will be necessary to achieve the state’s water quality targets. Using survey data, we will examine the potential water use reductions and water quality improvements that would be undertaken by agricultural producers given various levels of market-based payments for ecosystem service provision. We will also determine the economic value of in-stream water use and water quality improvements by in-stream water users (beneficiaries) through the use of a survey to implement the travel cost and continuation valuation methods of non-market valuation. This will allow us to determine if collection of payments from users could partially or wholly offset necessary investments made by agricultural producers to achieve water quality and flow standards.

Project Outputs

Bi, X, Wu Q., and B. Nguyen. 2018. Valuing the Recreation Benefits of Springs in Florida. Santa Fe River Springs Protection Forum. February 15, High Springs, FL. Wu, Q.,  X. Bi, K. A. Grogan & T. Borisova. 2018.  Valuing the Recreation Benefits of Natural Springs in Florida. Water 2018, 10(10), 1379; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10101379