Aquatic habitat measurement and valuation: Imputing social benefits to instream flow levels

Aaron J. Douglas, Richard L. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Instream flow conflicts have been analysed from the perspectives offered by policy oriented applied (physical) science, theories of conflict resolution and negotiation strategy, and psychological analyses of the behavior patterns of the bargaining parties. Economics also offers some useful insights in analysing conflict resolution within the context of these water allocation problems. We attempt to analyse the economics of the bargaining process in conjunction with a discussion of the water allocation process. In particular, we examine in detail the relation between certain habitat estimation techniques, and the socially optimal allocation of non-market resources. The results developed here describe the welfare implications implicit in the contemporary general equilibrium analysis of a competitive market economy. We also review certain currently available techniques for assigning dollar values to the social benefits of instream flow. The limitations of non-market valuation techniques with respect to estimating the benefits provided by instream flows and the aquatic habitat contingent on these flows should not deter resource managers from using economic analysis as a basic tool for settling instream flow conflicts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-280
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • conflict resolution
  • economic analysis
  • instream flow
  • water allocation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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