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AN ECONOMIC EVALUATION OF THE COLORADO RIVER BASIN SALINITY CONTROL PROGRAM

By Richard L. Gardner and Robert A. Young

Abstract

Dissolved salts (salinity) adversely affect numerous urban and agricultural users of Colorado River water in California and Arizona. Congress in 1974 authorized a major salinity control program. Studies of general economic benefits from salinity abatement and the cost per unit of salinity reduction expected from specific proposed projects have been developed by the responsible federal agencies, but no project-by-project evaluation has been published. We find a conceptual basis for a substantial downward revision of prospective economic benefits of salinity abatement. Revised benefits are compared with estimated costs, and only for five of the nineteen projects do economic benefits appear to exceed costs.Resource /Energy Economics and Policy,

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