Priorities and Preferences in Water Quality Management

a Case Study of the Alsterån River Basin

Document identifier:
Access full text here:10.1007/s11269-019-02430-5
Keyword: Social Sciences, Economics and Business, Economics, Samhällsvetenskap, Ekonomi och näringsliv, Nationalekonomi, Choice experiment, Water quality attributes, European Union Water Framework Directive
Publication year: 2020
Relevant Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
SDG 11 Sustainable cities and communitiesSDG 6 Clean water and sanitationSDG 14 Life below water
The SDG label(s) above have been assigned by


Sweden is a decentralised country where local managers, who are key actors in water management, often deal with relatively difficult prioritisations, tradeoffs and conflicting goals. Many of these challenges relate to the effective implementation of the European Union Water Framework Directive. As an input to these challenges, the present paper elicits and analyses local and semi-local citizens’ preferences for water quality attributes related to the European Water Framework directive in a river basin located in southeast of Sweden. Based on a choice experiment tailored to the case study area, the paper analyses preferences for selected attributes based on real criteria for ecological water status in the implementation of the directive. The target population lives in the municipalities through which the river passes, or in municipalities neighbouring those. Despite this spatial proximity to the river, the analysis reveals limited knowledge and interest in matters related to the environmental quality of the river. There is no evidence that preferences differ between respondents with regard to experience or knowledge about the water basin, nor with regard to recreational habits in the area. These results offer input to local water management by providing information about preferences for explicit water quality attributes.


Kristina Ek

Luleå tekniska universitet; Samhällsvetenskap
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Lars Persson

Department of Economics, Centre for Environmental and Resource Economics, Umeå School of Business, Economics and Statistics, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden
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