Applying Contingent Valuation Survey to Assess the Economic Value of Restoring Ecosystem Services of Impaired Rivers: A Case Study in Transboundary Buna River Region, Albania
Dr. D. Grazhdani
Lecturer, Dept. of Agribusiness Management, Faculty of Economy and Agribusiness, Agricultural University of Tirana, Tirana, Albania
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Rivers can provide many services to humans, including water supply for municipal, industrial and agricultural users, fish habitat and recreation. Restoration of impaired waters is gaining increasing attention. Improving the quality of impaired waters will yield environmental benefits that will also translate into economic and social benefits. The estimation of the economic value of these environmental benefits by assessing the total willingness-topay (WTP) of households for restoring water quality in impaired transboundary Buna River basin, Albania (AL-Buna) is the primary objective of this study. A stated-preference estimation technique known as the contingent valuation method (CVM) was utilized in this study. In our survey was used a well-designed questionnaire depicting the reason why the ecosystem of Buna river basin has been deteriorating, the measures by which ecosystem services could be restoring from their current level, and the benefits the households in the area could get from restoring ecosystem services. These ecosystem services were dilution of wastewater, natural purification of water, erosion control, habitat for fish and wildlife, and recreation. Surveys containing a dichotomous choice WTP questions and multiple choice questions were sent to a randomly selected sample of 268 households to determine both the WTP of residents and factors that affect WTP. Results from survey indicate that households would pay an average of $2.1 per month or €25.2 annually for the additional ecosystem services. Generalizing this to the households living along the river yields a value of €140,000 to €500,000 depending on whether non-responding households make any contribution or not. These estimates are more than the estimated costs of restoring the five ecosystem services. The approach described in this study may be applied to larger ecosystems with a broader range of the ecosystem services to be valued.