Economics of Wetland Conservation Case Study: Catchment Management for Water Quality

  • Bill Watts
  • Mark Everard
Reference work entry


Traditional approaches to the abstraction and treatment of water for public supply depend on a range of engineered approaches including dams, interbasin water transfers, and groundwater abstraction, generally with a high reliance on energy- and chemical-intensive treatment processes post abstraction. Substantial energy inputs, associated climate-active gas emissions, chemical inputs and linked supply chain concerns, waste generation including disruptive vehicle movements, and maintenance activities mean that the sustainability of this approach is questionable. These concerns are allied to the risks associated with declining water availability resulting from less predictable weather patterns. Overcoming these problems stemming from a largely reactive and piecemeal approach to water management, a more systematic and ecosystem-based approach is gaining momentum. This takes the form of a catchment-based approach, emphasizing the benefits of controlling contamination of water at source rather than committing greater retrospective investment in more intensive cleanup of water abstracted lower in catchments. This transition is driven largely by water quality considerations, though water quantity concerns are increasingly also influencing planning.


Payments for ecosystem services Trusted broker Upstream thinking Raw water Farming Westcountry rivers trust Win-win New York city Water supply Watershed protection 


  1. Defra. Catchment Based Approach: improving the quality of our water environment – a policy framework to encourage the wider adoption of an integrated Catchment Based Approach to improving the quality of our water environment. 2013. Accessed 4 Sept 2013.
  2. Everard M. The hydropolitics of dams: engineering or ecosystems? London: Zed Books; 2013.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Colcough and Coates - Sc2 LimitedWaldersladeUK
  2. 2.International Water Security Network, University of the West of EnglandBristolUK

Personalised recommendations