Payment for environmental services for flood control analysis and method of economic viability

Sci Total Environ. 2021 Jul 10;777:145907. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.145907. Epub 2021 Feb 19.

Abstract

Disorganized urban growth, deforestation, and the occupation of floodplains and riverside areas significantly alter land-use patterns and social and environmental wellbeing. This work aims to present the analysis of the feasibility of the proposal for the implementation of a Payment for Environmental Services (PES) project for flood control. It is related to the recovery and conservation of areas of environmental interest in a hydrographic basin and considering the river channel as a reference and its buffer areas. For the implementation of a PES project aiming at the reduction of floods downstream through the recovery of riparian forests, including their subsequent maintenance, this work proposes a flowchart of the applicable steps, develops a formulation for the definition of payment for the service, and defines a set of measures necessary for its management. Through a case study, it was possible to simulate different scenarios for different recurrence time (RT) in the study area, and thus assess the damage caused by these different events. The innovation of this work comes from the use of PES for the control of floods, with the use of an integral formula to calculate the costs of PES and to evaluate the expected damages. The application of the Poisson distribution was used to estimate the losses for different RT events expected in 50 years, estimating the losses overtime for the scenario with the implementation of the PES project and without it. The damage when reduced or avoided becomes a useful resource for the establishment of other public policies.

Keywords: Avoided losses, riverside areas; Economic instruments; River basin; Urban planning.