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Benefits of Safer Drinking Water: The Value of Nitrate Reduction

  • Crutchfield, Stephen R.
  • Cooper, Joseph C.
  • Hellerstein, Daniel

Nitrates in drinking water, which may come from nitrogen fertilizers applied to crops, are a potential health risk. This report evaluates the potential benefits of reducing human exposure to nitrates in the drinking water supply. In a survey, respondents were asked a series of questions about their willingness to pay for a hypothetical water filter, which would reduce their risk of nitrate exposure. If nitrates in the respondent's drinking water were to exceed the EPA minimum safety standard, they would be willing to pay $45 to $60, per household, per month, to reduce nitrates in their drinking water to the minimum safety standard. There are 2.9 million households in the four regions studied (White River area of Indiana, Central Nebraska, Lower Susquehanna, and Mid-Columbia Basin in Washington). If all households potentially at risk were protected from excessive nitrates in drinking water the estimated benefits would be $350 million.

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File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/34025
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Paper provided by United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service in its series Agricultural Economics Reports with number 34025.

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Date of creation: 1997
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Handle: RePEc:ags:uerser:34025
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  1. V. Kerry Smith, 1993. "Nonmarket Valuation of Environmental Resources: An Interpretive Appraisal," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 69(1), pages 1-26.
  2. Ribaudo, Marc & Hellerstein, Daniel, 1992. "Estimating Water Quality Benefits: Theoretical and Methodological Issues," Technical Bulletins 33586, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  3. Downing, Mark & Ozuna, Teofilo Jr., 1996. "Testing the Reliability of the Benefit Function Transfer Approach," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 316-322, May.
  4. Joseph C. Cooper, 1994. "A Comparison of Approaches to Calculating Confidence Intervals for Benefit Measures from Dichotomous Choice Contingent Valuation Surveys," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 70(1), pages 111-122.
  5. Richard C. Ready & Jean C. Buzby & Dayuan Hu, 1996. "Differences between Continuous and Discrete Contingent Value Estimates," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 72(3), pages 397-411.
  6. Peter Feather & Daniel Hellerstein, 1997. "Calibrating Benefit Function Transfer to Assess the Conservation Reserve Program," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 79(1), pages 151-162.
  7. Edwards, Steven F., 1988. "Option prices for groundwater protection," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 475-487, December.
  8. Crutchfield, Stephen R. & Feather, Peter & Hellerstein, Daniel, 1995. "Benefits of Protecting Rural Water Quality: An Empirical Analysis," Agricultural Economics Reports 33949, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  9. Cooper Joseph C., 1993. "Optimal Bid Selection for Dichotomous Choice Contingent Valuation Surveys," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 25-40, January.
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