Water Resources Management

, Volume 31, Issue 15, pp 4785–4799 | Cite as

Ecosystem Service Impacts of Urban Water Supply and Demand Management

  • John M. Kandulu
  • Darla Hatton MacDonald
  • Graeme Dandy
  • Angela Marchi


Utilities face the challenge of enhancing long-term water security while minimising undesirable economic, social and environmental impacts of supply and demand management options. This paper provides an example of how the ecosystem services concept can be used to enumerate and organise broad impacts of water supply options. A case study of Adelaide, South Australia, is used to examine costs and benefits associated with different sources of water and source-water mix scenarios. Ecosystem service impacts are estimated using estimates from the literature. Seven water supply and demand management options are considered for Adelaide: 1) the River Murray, 2) Mt. Lofty Ranges catchments, 3) wastewater reuse, 4) desalination, 5) stormwater harvesting, 6) groundwater and 7) water conservation. The largest costs are associated with sourcing water from conservation measures such as water restrictions on outdoor watering estimated at $1.87/kL. Salinity damage costs associated with residential uses are estimated at up to $1.54/kL. Salinity damage costs of wastewater reuse were estimated at $1.16/kL. The largest benefit is coastal amenity services associated with stormwater harvesting and treatment estimated at $1.03/kL. Results show that there is a trade-off between financial costs and ecosystem services impacts with source-water mix scenarios with the highest ecosystem services cost having the lowest financial O&M cost and vice versa. This highlights the importance of taking ecosystem services into account when evaluating water supply options.


Water security Water supply options Environmental impacts Externalities Demand management 



The authors would like to acknowledge the funding provided by the Goyder Institute, CSIRO and the University of Adelaide. The role of collegial assistance and review provided by Murray Hall, Chloe Devauze, Susan Cuddy and Stuart Whitten is also acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • John M. Kandulu
    • 1
  • Darla Hatton MacDonald
    • 2
  • Graeme Dandy
    • 3
  • Angela Marchi
    • 3
  1. 1.UrrbraeAustralia
  2. 2.Tasmanian School of Business and EconomicsUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia
  3. 3.School of Civil, Environmental and Mining EngineeringUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia

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