New framework for quantifying WTP to consider equity in cost allocation of NPS pollution abatement in TMDL framework
Non-Point Source pollution abatement at regional watershed level depends largely on the participation of all polluters in applying mitigation actions and for extended periods of time. Typically, Regulators have limited capacity to monitor polluter’s compliance with mitigation policies that impose additional costs to polluters. The willingness of polluters to implement mitigation actions is key factor to achieve successful NPS pollution abatement. Social acceptability of mitigation policies is a significant indicator of polluter’s willingness to apply mitigation actions. Social acceptability is valuable measure for decision making because it allows regulators to evaluate mitigation policies based on their likelihood to succeed. Today, the lack of practical approach to evaluate social acceptability is limiting its use in NPS pollution management. Social acceptability depends on economic and social factors. Equity in distributing mitigation costs among polluters emerges as a practical indicator of social acceptability. In this work, a framework is developed to quantify polluter’s Willingness to Pay to implement equity in mitigation cost allocation at the polluter level (i.e. farmer). The suggested framework represents new application to integrate equity in decision making in NPS management. A practical application of the new framework is provided using phosphorus loading reduction in the Fishtrap Creek Watershed in the Nooksack River Basin in northwestern Washington State.