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01.12.2014 | Original Contribution | Ausgabe 4/2014

EcoHealth 4/2014

Economic Feasibility Study for Improving Drinking Water Quality: A Case Study of Arsenic Contamination in Rural Argentina

EcoHealth > Ausgabe 4/2014
María Molinos-Senante, Alejo Perez Carrera, Francesc Hernández-Sancho, Alicia Fernández-Cirelli, Ramón Sala-Garrido


Economic studies are essential in evaluating the potential external investment support and/or internal tariffs available to improve drinking water quality. Cost–benefit analysis (CBA) is a useful tool to assess the economic feasibility of such interventions, i.e. to take some form of action to improve the drinking water quality. CBA should involve the market and non-market effects associated with the intervention. An economic framework was proposed in this study, which estimated the health avoided costs and the environmental benefits for the net present value of reducing the pollutant concentrations in drinking water. We conducted an empirical application to assess the economic feasibility of removing arsenic from water in a rural area of Argentina. Four small-scale methods were evaluated in our study. The results indicated that the inclusion of non-market benefits was integral to supporting investment projects. In addition, the application of the proposed framework will provide water authorities with more complete information for the decision-making process.

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