Evaluate Community Benefits
Rivers and streams provide a number of economic and social benefits to nearby communities, often referred to as ecosystem services. These include clean water for municipal and agricultural use, flood protection, and landscape aesthetics—values to society that can be measured in terms of human health, direct economic valuation, or quality of life. If pursuing an IWMP, consideration of these services alongside assessments of ecological condition is warranted.
When delivery of these services is limited, local economies, livelihoods, and quality of life can suffer. Assessment of a river’s capacity to deliver ecosystem services can be quantitative (e.g., supply versus demand for irrigation water), or made using qualitative and/or social-science methodologies (e.g., the value of a river corridor to a community’s tourism economy).
Integrated Water Management Planning in The Colorado River Basin outlines 13 services that rivers provide to communities that are relevant to SMPs and IWMPs. All of these services are described in this website and can be linked to here.
Consumptive water use includes agricultural production, drinking water supply, industrial processing, and hydropower production.
Information about groundwater recharge, pest regulation, aesthetics, boating recreation, and angling recreation are can be found by clicking on the appropriate icons below.
Flood regulation, erosion control, regulatory compliance, and symbolic species are described within the relevant ecological variable, and can also be linked to here.