Thursday, September 22, 2011

Those Dam Externalities

A California river, dammed since 1909, is slated to be opened sometime in the next 10 years. Studies are now reporting on what effects that should have, and the responses are up in the hundreds of millions of dollars, not counting the existence values. While dams help cities and agricultural areas get water, they also provide recreational opportunities as they create lakes. If and when the series of dams is taken down, people who bought lakefront property are going to be left with something much less desirable. Economists need environmental scientists to figure out all the ramifications of damming up rivers so that we can assess all the costs and benefits: as the science has progressed, so have the economics, and the accounting at this point doesn't look good for the dams.

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