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Reconfiguring an Irrigation Landscape to Improve Provision of Ecosystem Services

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  • Neville D Crossman
  • Jeffrey D Connor
  • Brett A Bryan
  • David A Summers
  • John Ginnivan

    ()
    (CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, Australia)

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    Abstract

    Over-allocation of fresh water resources to consumptive uses, coupled with recurring drought and the prospect of climate change, is compromising the stocks of natural capital in the world’s basins and reducing their ability to provide ecosystem services. To combat this, governments world wide are making significant investment in efforts to improve sharing of water between consumptive uses and the environment, with many investments centred on modernisation of inefficient irrigation delivery systems, and the purchase of water by government for environmental flows. In this study, spatial targeting was applied within a cost-benefit framework to reconfigure agricultural land use in an irrigation district to achieve a 20% reduction in agricultural water use to increase environmental flows and improve the provision of other ecosystem services. We demonstrate using spatial planning and optimisation models that a targeted land use reconfiguration policy approach could potentially increase the net present value of ecosystem services by up to AUS$463.7m. This provides a threshold level of investment that would be justified on the basis of benefits that the investment produces. The increase in ecosystem services include recovering 61 GL of water for environmental flows, the sequestration of 10.6m tonnes of CO2-e/yr, a 13 EC (?S/cm) reduction in river salinity, and an overall 24% increase in the value of agriculture. Without a targeted approach to planning, a 20% reduction in water for irrigation could result in the loss of AUS$68.7m in economic returns to agriculture which may be only marginally offset by the increased value of ecosystem services resulting from the return of 61 GL of water to the environment.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems in its series Socio-Economics and the Environment in Discussion (SEED) Working Paper Series with number 2009-07.

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    Length: 36 pages
    Date of creation: May 2009
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:cse:wpaper:2009-07

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    Related research

    Keywords: landscape planning; geographic information systems; cost-benefit analysis; irrigation; climate change; water management; spatial targeting; environmental valuation;

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    1. Wichelns, Dennis & Oster, J.D., 2006. "Sustainable irrigation is necessary and achievable, but direct costs and environmental impacts can be substantial," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 86(1-2), pages 114-127, November.
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    3. Loomis, John & Kent, Paula & Strange, Liz & Fausch, Kurt & Covich, Alan, 2000. "Measuring the total economic value of restoring ecosystem services in an impaired river basin: results from a contingent valuation survey," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 103-117, April.
    4. Cho, Seong-Hoon & Bowker, James Michael & Park, William M., 2006. "Measuring the Contribution of Water and Green Space Amenities to Housing Values: An Application and Comparison of Spatially-weighted Hedonic Models," 2006 Annual meeting, July 23-26, Long Beach, CA 21242, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    5. Yang, Wanhong & Khanna, Madhu & Farnsworth, Richard & Onal, Hayri, 2003. "Integrating economic, environmental and GIS modeling to target cost effective land retirement in multiple watersheds," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 249-267, September.
    6. Bennett, Jeffrey W. & Dumsday, Robert G. & Gillespie, Robert, 2008. "Analysing options for the Red Gum Forests along the Murray River," 2008 Conference (52nd), February 5-8, 2008, Canberra, Australia 6029, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
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    9. Quiggin, John C., 2001. "Environmental economics and the Murray-Darling river system," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 45(1), March.
    10. Brouwer, Roy, 2000. "Environmental value transfer: state of the art and future prospects," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 137-152, January.
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    13. Babcock, Bruce A. & Lakshminarayan, P. G. & Wu, J. & Zilberman, David, 1997. "Targeting Tools for the Purchase of Environmental Amenities," Staff General Research Papers 5220, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    14. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521744447 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Ian J. Bateman & Roy Brouwer & Helen Davies & Brett H. Day & Amelie Deflandre & Salvatore Di Falco & Stavros Georgiou & David Hadley & Michael Hutchins & Andrew P. Jones & David Kay & Graham Leeks & M, 2006. "Analysing the Agricultural Costs and Non-market Benefits of Implementing the Water Framework Directive," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(2), pages 221-237, 07.
    16. Paul J. Ferraro, 2004. "Targeting Conservation Investments in Heterogeneous Landscapes: A Distance-Function Approach and Application to Watershed Management," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 86(4), pages 905-918.
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