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Value of Water Based upon Retail Sales Tax Revenue

Jerome Wright

Abstract: In quantifying the benefits of compost amendments to soils for agricultural and urban use in terms of water conservation, there are many difficulties in conveying “value” of water due to the many different aspects of value to individuals and organizations. Perhaps the most universal metric for value is through the net monetary impact of water. Therefore, it is necessary to quantify the benefits by placing a dollar value on the amount of water conserved by amending soils with compost. In most of the literature, the value of water is rarely defined, and when it is the value presented is actually the “cost” of water production or reclamation. However, to truly understand the impacts of water conservation, a fuller vision of the value of water is needed beyond the costs of water. In this paper, the value of water is developed for the Rapid City, South Dakota area. With a value of water established, the benefits of soil compost amendments are calculated by evaluating the reduction of irrigation water needed for comparable crops and the value of the conserved water. In developing a value of water for Rapid City, South Dakota, the direct costs for water production are compared with the retail value of water and the economic activity enabled by a water supply. The average cost of water production for South Dakota cities averaged $0.004 per gallon ($0.001/Liter). The analysis of retail value and economic impact showed that water is valued at $0.71 per gallon ($0.19/Liter) for Rapid City and nine other South Dakota communities when calculated using the community’s retail sales records and economic reports. Efforts to find similar findings for the US were not found. With the value of water established for Rapid City and other South Dakota communities, the value benefits of compost amendments on water conservation are shown in direct monetary terms.
Keywords: Water / Value / Dollar / Benefit / Compost

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