How Much for Water? Economic Assessment and Mapping of Floodplain Water Storage as a Catchment-Scale Ecosystem Service of Wetlands

Grygoruk, M., et al., 2013. Water

Original research (primary data)
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The integration of water management goals in protected wetland areas agriculturally managed in an intensive manner recalls the comparison of apples (ecological values) and oranges (economic dimension of agriculture). Sustainable wetland management frequently fails if environmental features are not referred to as ecosystem services and quantified in economic terms. In our hydrological-economical study on floodplain wetlands located in the Lower Basin of the Biebrza Valley, we attempt to quantify the monetary value of water storage in the floodplain during flood phenomena as an important ecosystem service. The unit monetary value of water storage in the catchment of Biebrza Valley was assessed on the basis of small artificial water reservoirs, constructed in recent years and located in the area of research, and reached 0.53 EUR.m(-3).year(-1). In a GIS-based study on hydrological floodplain processes in the years 1995-2011, we assessed the average annual volume of active water storage in the floodplain which reached 10.36 M m(3) year(-1), giving a monetary value of EUR 5.49 million per annum. We propose that the methodology presented in our analysis could be applied as water storage subsidies in valuable floodplains, to prevent their deterioration originating from agriculture intensification.

Case studies

Basic information

  • Case ID: INT-086-1
  • Intervention type: Protection
  • Intervention description:

    In order to manage and protect the unique wetlands of the Biebrza Valley, the Biebrza National Park was established in 1993. Today, conservation activities are aimed at preservation and the increase of suitable habitats for rare species of flora and fauna. The majority of actions are oriented at the reduction/prevention of secondary succession of shrubs to open areas, which are considered a threat to protected birds

  • Landscape/sea scape ecosystem management: Yes
  • Climate change impacts Effect of Nbs on CCI Effect measures
    Freshwater flooding  Unclear results Volume of water stored within the floodplain
  • Approach implemented in the field: Yes
  • Specific location:

    Catchment of the Biebrza River and the Biebrza Valley are located in NE Poland (Figure 2A). The Biebrza is a tributary of the Narew River. The stretch of Biebrza Valley between the Osowiec and Burzyn (the Lower Biebrza Basin) was the focus of the analysis.

  • Country: Poland
  • Habitat/Biome type: Wetlands |
  • Issue specific term: Not applicable


  • Notes on intervention effectivness: Results are unclear because the aim of paper is to compare two different intervention options (the NbS and alternative) and not to look at their effectiveness relative to any kind of 'do nothing' scenario. therefore cannot infer the actual effectiveness of the intervention from outcomes.
  • Is the assessment original?: Yes
  • Broadtype of intervention considered: Engineered approach(s)
  • Compare effectivness?: Yes
  • Compared to the non-NBS approach: More effective
  • Report greenhouse gas mitigation?: No
  • Impacts on GHG: Not applicable
  • Assess outcomes of the intervention on natural ecosystems: No
  • Impacts for the ecosystem: Not reported
  • Ecosystem measures:
  • Assess outcomes of the intervention on people: No
  • Impacts for people: Not reported
  • People measures:
  • Considers economic costs: Yes
  • Economic appraisal conducted: Yes
  • Economic appraisal described:
  • Economic costs of alternative considered: No
  • Compared to an alternative: Not reported

Evaluation methodology

  • Type of data: Quantitative
  • Is it experimental: No
  • Experimental evalution done: Not applicable
  • Non-experimental evalution done: Empirical case study
  • Study is systematic: