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Valuation Of The Ecosystem Services Provided By Natural Looking Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (suds).

Congress: 2015
Author(s):
AbstractIntroduction Sustainable Urban Drainage systems (SUDS) are engineering solutions with the intention to mimic natural systems. SUDS were introduced to Scotland in the early 1990s with the establishment of the Forth Purification Board, latterly known as SEPA, in 1994. Their design is based on the SUDS triangle which incorporates water quality, water quantity and amenity drivers. Until recently, the main focus was diffuse pollution and how SUDS offered a unique opportunity for pollutant removal from urban and peri-urban water courses. Climate change has increased the awareness for SUDS in terms of the benefits for pluvial flood risk management. Very little, however, has been done to quantify the benefits from SUDS in terms of the three main pillars of sustainability: social, economic, and environmental factors.

The often overlooked component of the SUDS triangle is the amenity component, especially with respect to habitat. It is therefore the focus of this paper to make the connection between aquatic habitats (ponds and wetlands) and the amenity and biodiversity functions offered. Habitat is fundamentally important to SUDS and assessment of Ecosystem Services. Ecosystem Services refer to the end user benefits obtained from the environment. Very few studies, to date, assess the Ecosystem Services from SUDS- although attempts have been made from the social science studies in terms of conceptualising SUDS and Ecosystem Services (Lundy and Wade, 2011; Scholz and Uzomah, 2013) none have assigned a monetary value to these services.

The main focus of this paper, therefore, is to highlight the importance of Ecosystem Services as part of the valuing process in SUDS. It will align well established techniques in eco-hydrology with monetary valuation using Contingent Valuation Methods (CVM). Methods and preliminary results, with a discussion section, will be presented. It is hoped that the study will allow for inter site comparison to inform environmental management and planning decisions- as well as providing a benchmark for future studies.

Aim: The aim of the research is to place a monetary value on the Ecosystem Services, provided by natural looking SUDS, using Contingent Valuation Methods. Objectives: 1)To undertake field work on a monthly basis, and look at the seasonal trends of the data collected- as this quantifies the Ecosystem Services associated with SUDS. (started in July) 2) Design a questionnaire which tests the benefits of SUDS (considering the main ecology groups or findings). (start in Nov) 3) Analyse field and survey data using parametric and non-parametric statistical tests. 4) Use the questionnaire to formulate a framework for Ecosystem Services and SUDS. Methods: 1) Quantifying the benefits from the pond in terms of ecology by a) sweep sampling (BS EN ISO 10870, 2012) and b) vegetation transects. 2) Testing public perceptions about the intrinsic benefits of nature by carrying out surveys using Contingent Valuation Methods. 3) Placing a monetary value on the main benefits, and ES, associated with SUDS ponds and wetlands with the hope of formulating a framework.

Results and discussion: Preliminary results from Granton, Edinburgh, indicate that there are 18 families of macro invertebrates in the pond. Biological Monitoring Working Party (BMWP) scores refer to the biological quality of lentic (slow, or no flow) and lotic (flowing) water bodies, and provide an indication of water quality. Average Score per Taxon (ASPT) refers to the water quality of lentic or lotic water bodies. These scoring methods are useful to see how polluted or impacted a particular water body is, and in the context of this PhD- the ponds being monitored.

Tables 1, 2, 3, and 4 show that BMWP scores are low, with a range of 2-26 and the ASPT ranges from 2-5. Table 5 highlights some of the scores from previous ecology studies in urban ponds. Noble and Hassall (2014) reported similar ASPT scores to the preliminary findings which suggest that the water and biological quality is poor or very poor in the pond studied. However, it was observed that there was a high level of litter present in the pond as well as some oil on the surface. Similarly, urban stressors influence the results in the Bradford case study.

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