Measuring the Long-Term Regional Benefits of Salinity Reduction

Approaches for evaluating salinity management benefits are generalized and extended to incorporate consideration of desalination and long-term changes in salinity concentration and water use patterns. Previous research indicates urban users incur the vast majority of salinity-related damages in affected regions, suggesting municipalities may benefit by considering mitigating actions independent of agriculture. However, previous studies have included no consideration of desalination. Earlier studies have also considered stepped increases in salinity, assuming a single future concentration when estimating the long-term benefits of salinity reduction, an approach inconsistent with the incremental nature of these increases. Long-term changes in water use patterns (urban vs. agricultural), when considered at all, have often been treated in the same stepwise fashion. For this analysis, a suitable region is selected and the benefits of a hypothetical salinity management program are estimated using the approach described. These results are then compared with those obtained through the use of several previous methods. Findings suggest that consideration of desalination and incremental variations in salinity and water use patterns can substantially lower the estimated benefits of regional salinity management programs.
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Characklis, Gregory W.; Griffin, Ronald C.; Bedient, Philip B., Measuring the Long-Term Regional Benefits of Salinity Reduction, Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Volume 30, Issue 1, April 2005, Pages 69–93

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