Dr Craig Bullock (UCD) (ABSTRACT)

Over the years economists have immersed themselves in the task of valuing water
resources. This has followed in particular from the Water Framework Directive which
requires a balancing of the benefits and costs of water resource use, including the
environmental impacts of water use for abstraction and waste disposal. Ecorisk is an
EPA Strive project that has been applying economic valuation methods to
environmental resources in the context of the Environmental Liability Directive. The
objective is to examine the implications of pollution related incidents with a view to
the compensatory remediation of the full cost of ecological damage. Previous
economic valuation work has focused on the public’s valuation of environmental
impacts in terms of their own utility. While this remains the dominant approach, the
perception of these impacts is based on visual outcomes. As an alternative, interest
has increasingly turned towards the valuation of ecosystem services. The challenge is
that the aquatic ecosystem is complex with a wide variety of interrelated supporting,
regulating and cultural services. This presentation will explain how we have set about
this task along with some preliminary results from our case study of the River Suir.