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J Environ Manage. 2015 Sep 15;161:163-172. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2015.06.035. Epub 2015 Jul 13.

Integrated cost-effectiveness analysis of agri-environmental measures for water quality.

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International Water Management Institute (IWMI), West Africa Office, PMB CT112, Cantonments, Accra, Ghana. Electronic address:
The James Hutton Institute, Criagiebuckler, AB15 8QH Aberdeen, UK.


This paper presents an application of integrated methodological approach for identifying cost-effective combinations of agri-environmental measures to achieve water quality targets. The methodological approach involves linking hydro-chemical modelling with economic costs of mitigation measures. The utility of the approach was explored for the River Dee catchment in North East Scotland, examining the cost-effectiveness of mitigation measures for nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) pollutants. In-stream nitrate concentration was modelled using the STREAM-N and phosphorus using INCA-P model. Both models were first run for baseline conditions and then their effectiveness for changes in land management was simulated. Costs were based on farm income foregone, capital and operational expenditures. The costs and effects data were integrated using 'Risk Solver Platform' optimization in excel to produce the most cost-effective combination of measures by which target nutrient reductions could be attained at a minimum economic cost. The analysis identified different combination of measures as most cost-effective for the two pollutants. An important aspect of this paper is integration of model-based effectiveness estimates with economic cost of measures for cost-effectiveness analysis of land and water management options. The methodological approach developed is not limited to the two pollutants and the selected agri-environmental measures considered in the paper; the approach can be adapted to the cost-effectiveness analysis of any catchment-scale environmental management options.


Cost-effectiveness; Dee catchment; Integrated approach; Mitigation measures; Nitrate; Phosphorus; Water quality

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