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TitleState of watershed payments : an emerging marketplace : ecosystem marketplace
Publication TypeMiscellaneous
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsStanton, T, Echavarria, M, Hamilton, K, Ott, C
Paginationxx, 79 p.; 62 endnotes; 15 refs.; 11 boxes; 23 fig.; 17 tab.
Date Published2010-06-23
Place PublishedS.l.
Keywordsecology, ecosystems, marketing, markets, WASHCost

Water, water, everywhere, but... We pay it lip-service as one of the most (if not the most) essential chemical substances on the planet, but the truth is that most of us take it entirely for granted. We use it, misuse it, and waste it, as if it weren’t precious. Water has so little perceived value that in many parts of the world, people don’t even pay for it. Even in places where people do pay for water, they sometimes pay so little that they rarely give it a second thought. For many, turn on the tap and there it is. Only in places where it is scarce, hard to get, or costly do people really appreciate water. Scarcity drives not just price, but perceived value. By this measure, the value of water looks set to continue rising. Look at bit more closely, and you will see that most parts of the world suffer from water problems. Water may make up more than two-thirds of our planet (and three fourths of the human body), but the truth is that the problem with water has never been solely about water quantity (i.e., how much water can be found in any given place), but rather has been mostly about economic access to water and water quality (about how much water can actually be used). The vast majority of the planet’s water is found in the form of essentially unusable saltwater. Only about three percent of the water on Earth is freshwater, and most of that is locked up in ice. [authors abstract]

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