Environmental Economics

Existence Values for Groundwater Protection

This study reports the findings of a preliminary investigation into the existence (nonuse) values people hold for groundwater resources and how these values can be measured for use in benefit/cost analysis. The study focused on a groundwater resource of drinkable quality that is located far from the participants' homes and is not now and is likely not in the future to be needed for human use (owing to the availability of substitutes) on the assumption that people's willingness to pay for protecting this type of resource from contamination will stem from existence values. Five focus groups where conducted in four cities--Baltimore, Worcester, Princeton, and Hartford--to explore in depth people's groundwater knowledge and concerns, and their protection preferences for this type of groundwater. In each group it was found that people's knowledge about groundwater is limited and that they mistakingly assume that contaminant plumes travel underground at very rapid rates. After steps were taken to correct this assumption, their preferences for preserving nonuse groundwater were explored.

  • Keywords

    1. Benefits Analysis
    1. Benefits Analysis - Valuation
    1. Benefits Analysis - Valuation - Stated Preference
    1. Benefits Analysis - Valuation - Stated Preference - Contingent Valuation
    Environmental Media:
    b. Water
    b. Water - Groundwater
    Mitchell, Robert Cameron
    Carson, Richard T.
    EPA Project Officer/ Manager:
    O'Neil, William
    Geographic Area:
    United States, Baltimore, Worcester (MA), Princeton, Hartford
    Study Purpose:
    Empirical Application
    Inventory Record #: EE-0002
  • Participating Organizations

    Research Organization:

    Resources for the FutureAddress:
    City: Washington State: DC ZIP: 20036
    Phone: Fax:
    Funding Organization:
    Environmental Protection Agency,
    Office of Policy Analysis,
    Economic Analysis Branch
    City: Washington State: DC ZIP: 20460
    Phone: Fax:
  • Report Details
    Number of Pages:
    Grant/Contract #:
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    Date Linked: 08/25/2017