The economic valuation of water from the Ashburton River : implications for allocation : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Masters of Agricultural Science in Resource Economics at Massey University
Recent legislative changes in New Zealand allow much greater flexibility in the procedures used by regional authorities to allocate water resources. In certain river catchments where competition for water in alternative uses is high, estimates of the economic value of water could prove useful in designing an allocation scheme. In this study two methods were used to value the water from the Ashburton River. First, a mathematical programming approach to estimate the value of water to farmers in the Ashburton catchment. This value is about $0.62 million. Second, a contingent valuation approach to estimate the value of in stream flows of the Ashburton to the residents of the Canterbury region. This value is estimated at between $2.47 million and $5.15 million. We assess the methods and the results for implications in allocating Ashburton water between irrigators and in-stream flows.