The economic impacts of water information systems: A systematic review


Journal Article (Review)

© 2018 Elsevier B.V. Information systems can yield economic value by providing data and analyses that are useful for improving water operations and planning. Working from a simple typology of water management domains that acknowledges the coupling of supply and demand, we characterize the nature of peer-reviewed and practitioner research that considers or makes reference to the costs and benefits of water-related information. The coverage of the reviewed studies is heterogeneous across domains, sectors, analytical methods, type of information considered, and geographic regions. Studies that discuss costs and benefits of additional information relative to a counterfactual represent a minority (39%) of those reviewed. Most of these counterfactual studies use a model prediction (60%) and/or extrapolate from previous studies (34%); far fewer rely on empirical evidence (24%). Furthermore, measurement of and justification for the proposed benefits and costs – whether monetized or only quantified – remains limited. We also comment on several of the more prominent methodologies for analyzing the costs and benefits of investments in improved water information. This leads to reflections on a research agenda that would enrich what is known about the economic value of water resources information, and thereby perhaps improve decision-makers’ ability to make fruitful investments in information systems. In the absence of more rigorous evidence on the contribution that specific systems make to societal well-being, decision-makers will likely remain tentative about further information investments.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Jeuland, M; Hansen, K; Doherty, H; Eastman, LB; Tchamkina, M

Published Date

  • April 1, 2019

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 26 /

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 2212-4284

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.wre.2018.09.001

Citation Source

  • Scopus