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Mixed Instruments To Control Agricultural Nonpoint Pollution: A Cross Catchment Comparison

Congress: 2015
Author(s): Ashar Aftab (Durham, UK), Nick Hanley, Giovanni Baiocchi
University of St. Andrews1, University of Maryland2

Keyword(s): Sub-theme 10: Management of water resources,
AbstractThe EU Water Framework Directive requires states to cost-effectively comply with the water quality target of "good ecological status" across all water bodies. Whilst this suggests an important role for economic instruments, most applied research is limited in its scope of application, typically being based on single catchments. We investigate whether the ranking of potential instruments is consistent across two different catchments, focussing on agricultural nonpoint (NP) nitrate pollution. Nonlinear stochastic biophysical economic optimisation models of two catchments are constructed. The models estimate the distribution of daily river pollution for 10 years in each catchment. 'Transferability' maybe of interest to regulators seeking to find programmes of measures that can be implemented countrywide, rather than setting different measures for separate catchments. Our results show consistency of policy rankings and hence transferability, however as expected the required instrument levels differed between catchments. Mixed instruments are cost-effective at higher regulatory targets in both catchments, and display characteristics more suited to being applied uniformly across catchments. Changes in catchment phosphorus and potassium consumption as a result of implementing policies to control NP nitrate pollution are estimated. Levying an N input tax to strictly control nitrate pollution may damage river ecology by increasing phosphorus loading.
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