Environmental and Social Values of River Water: Examples from the Menik Ganga, Sri Lanka

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"Similarly to other water demands, environmental water demand (Environmental Flows - EF) also has an economic value and cost. However, few studies have directly considered these costs to date. In this paper, the Menik Ganga (River) in southern Sri Lanka is used as a case study to attempt to evaluate the costs and benefits of EF. The EF components evaluated include the needs of the religious festival at Kataragama, the requirements of the Yala National Park, the requirements of the Pilinnawa Wetland and the requirements of the Yala Marine Protected Area and the Yala Fishery Management Area. Estimates are based on use values of EF such as marketed goods and recreation. For some components multiple estimates have been attempted. A cumulative value of individual EF components is calculated and discussed. It is anticipated that valuing the benefits of EF, in the Menik River or in similar other basins in Sri Lanka and elsewhere, would strengthen the decision making process of water allocation in the future."
fisheries, ecosystems, wetlands, rivers, wildlife, water management