Environmental degradation due to emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrate oxides, and ammonia from diffuse sources amounts to substantial costs to society and so do the alternatives to protect and restore the environment. Damage to ground water includes acidification, aluminum leaching, elevated concentrations of nitrate, and eutrophication. Monetary risk-based decision analysis (on a national scale) is applied to compare alternative actions designed to protect ground water from further degradation. Thisdecision analysis uses simulations of nitrate and aluminum concentrations over a 15 year period with two reduction scenarios for sulfur dioxide, nitrate oxides, and ammonia, and results in estimates of economic uncertainty. For each alternative, an objective function is estimated including the implementation costs, the economic risk associated with failure according to the selected decision criteria, and the economic benefits related to the implementation, The decision criteria are based on the EuropeanCommunity drinking water quality standards for nitrate and aluminum. The study aims at incorporating the hydrogeologic uncertainty resulting from the propagation of errors from data input to model output, A range of economic values has been applied to the ground water resource to study the sensitivity of the decision analysis to valuing ground water. The results indicate that higher reduction rates of the studied pollutants reduce the economic uncertainty but also lead to larger total costs. The study also indicates that the economic uncertainty may be equal to the total cost provided by the objective function. The contamination level of nitrate is much more responsive to the reduction scenarios than the aluminum concentration. For high, but not unrealistic, ground water valuing, the economic uncertainty makes the decision between the studied alternatives unclear.
|Publication status||Published - 1999|