Exploring the spatial heterogeneity of individual preferences for integrated river basin management: an example of Heihe river basin

Abstract

This study mainly focuses on welfare impacts from improving considerably degraded river stretches of Heihe river basin and to determine the impact of spatial heterogeneity on willingness-to-pay (WTP) for integrated river basin management (IRBM). The significant WTP values for ecological attributes improvement revealed that the respondents of Heihe river basin significantly support the integrated ecological restoration program. However, socioeconomic characteristics and residential location have a significant impact on WTP values for different ecological attributes. The results demonstrate that water quality is the most preferred variable among all the river attributes in the study area. For example, in Zhangye, Gaotai, Ejinaqi, Minle, and Sunan the respondents were willing to pay 90.6, 160.44, 377.15, 65.40, and 139.21 Yuan per year, respectively, for a one-grade improvement in current water quality. Our findings also show that all the major counties of the basin concern more about water quality representing the relative importance of river water and express the maximum WTP for its improvement, while all major counties also share a low WTP for improvements in conditions of the leisure and entertainment. The differences in socioeconomic characteristics and ecological status of the respondents partially explain the disparity in utility from IRBM. In conclusion, the results based on only specific sub-basin of river basin may over or underestimate the welfare estimate.

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Acknowledgements

The authors extend their sincere thanks to the editorial team of this journal and the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions that have significantly improved the manuscript.

Funding

The survey was sponsored by the major project supported by the National Natural Social Science Foundation of China (No. 15ZDA052).

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Correspondence to Imran Khan or Minjuan Zhao.

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Khan, I., Khan, S.U., Zhao, M. et al. Exploring the spatial heterogeneity of individual preferences for integrated river basin management: an example of Heihe river basin. Environ Sci Pollut Res 26, 6911–6921 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-019-04178-2

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Keywords

  • Integrated river basin management (IRBM)
  • Choice experiment approach
  • Willingness to pay (WTP)
  • Spatial heterogeneity
  • Heihe river basin