La Houille Blanche
Number 2-3, Mars 1977
|Page(s)||237 - 241|
|Published online||01 December 2009|
Les aspects socio-économiques de la valeur de l'eau
Social and economic aspects of the value of water
Directeur de l'Agence de Bassin LOIRE-BRETAGNE
Determination of the value of water with due allowance for all relevant social and economic factors is a basic requirement for rational management of water resources. "The water value" concept arises from competition among water users, in which connection one has to consider the following : a) The economic worth of water use b) The economic worth of environmmental or living conditions c) The economic worth of land and property. Expression of water value in economic terms depends on the following individual and/or collective criteria : a) Water as a production factor b) Water as an amenity c) Water as an infrastructural factor d) Water as natural environment. The monetary value of water can be assessed on the basis of its "production" cost, i.e. the cost of making it available, or by analysing the balance of supply and demand. Conventional methods of economic analysis can be used for this purpose. However, though these allow comparison of alternative development solutions, they cannot adequately define the extent to which environmental quality requirements associated with the use or availability of water supplies are satisfied. Choices and preferences of the public must therefore result from constructive discussion, as an aid to which "script-writing" techniques can be usefully employed. Economic criteria always come first in a rational water management policy, but it is important that they adequately reflect individual preference trends. In other words, the management policy must be adaptable to suit varying requirements ; the type of "frozen" situation resulting sooner or later in economic loss for the community should be avoided at all cost. This can only be achieved by a "global" approach made under a collective authority.
© Société Hydrotechnique de France, 1977
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