The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) monitors river water level and quality at 392 gauging stations throughout Scotland. Data on river flow and water quality is used by a diverse range of interest groups, including industry, water authorities, wildlife and water managers, hydrologists, recreational and industrial fishers among others; but most importantly, Category 1 Emergency Responders and local populations are reliant on the data produced by the gauging stations to provide flood warnings. Data from gauging stations inform the management of water resources to help meet EU Water Framework Directive objectives, the design of new infrastructure on and across flood plains, and have been increasingly used by scientists and policy practitioners to evaluate the impact of changes in land use and climate change. The data obtained from river gauging stations are thus a public good and accrue benefits above their market value, but to date no evaluation of the economic benefit has been made.
Methods and Materials
The aim of this project is to examine the value of the data provided by river gauging stations in Scotland using non-market valuation techniques, specifically choice experiments (CE). A particular objective within this context is to examine the spatial effects of distance from a river on the user value attached to stream gauge data.
Results and Discussion
Findings are expected to inform water policy decisions about the utility and future consumption patterns of data from a national stream gauge network.