Nature: "Smarter Ways with Water"

An article in Nature Outlook about our relationship with water quotes RFF Fellow Hannah Druckenmiller and cites her work on the economic value of wetlands.

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Nov. 16, 2022

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Another problem: the degradation of those services is typically not counted against profits; instead, those costs are paid by the environment and people. Hannah Druckenmiller, an environmental economist and data scientist at the non-profit organization Resources for the Future in Washington DC, has calculated that permitting development on one hectare of wetlands incurs property damages of more than $12,000 per year13. That’s because water that has been displaced from an area that used to absorb it floods surrounding communities. Druckenmiller estimates the value of wetlands nationwide, just for flood absorption, to be $1.2 trillion to 2.9 trillion. And that is a conservative estimate, based on flood damage data covering just around 30% of households in floodplains...

“We’ve made a lot of progress integrating [natural capital] into the system, where it doesn’t get pushed aside because other things are higher priority,” says Druckenmiller.

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