Revisiting 6 years later a water conflict in Southeastern Oklahoma; a new valuation of the willingness to pay for ecosystem services

Authors: Claire Burch*, University of Oklahoma, Michelle Busch, University of Oklahoma, Edward Higgins, University of Oklahoma, Steven Bittner, University of Oklahoma, Nuwanthika Perera, University of Oklahoma, Kevin Neal, University of Oklahoma, Lawrence Burkett, University of Oklahoma, Antonio Castro, University of Almeria, Idaho State University, Christopher Anderson, University of Oklahoma
Topics: Water Resources and Hydrology, Environmental Perception
Keywords: water resource management, Oklahoma, water conflict, ecosystem services, valuation
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/8/2020
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Plaza Court 6, Sheraton, Concourse Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

In recent years, researchers have begun to adopt a perspective evaluating “winners and losers” regarding the consumption of ecosystem services, where “winners” tend to benefit from the ecosystem service and “losers” absorb the majority of associated costs. Our study focuses on water use in Oklahoma and a proposed plan to divert water from the Kiamichi River in southeastern Oklahoma for consumption at residences in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area. Our study is, in part, a follow-up from an initial 2013 survey. For this paper, a survey was distributed within the state of Oklahoma using the online Qualtrics platform to evaluate changes to ecosystem service valuation and willingness to pay. This survey also included an experimental element assessing if exposure to additional information about ecosystem services influenced respondents on ecosystem service valuation, or willingness to pay. Our results generally aligned with those found in the 2013 survey; Oklahoma City residents are not aware of where their water is coming from and are not willing to pay to protect ecosystem services. Our results showed a smaller number of significant factors determining willingness to pay for ecosystem service maintenance were identified than the 2013 survey. Exposure to additional information had no effect on how participants answered survey questions, and public opinion surrounding environmental support is context specific; political conservatism may not always impede valuation of environmental protections in respondents. We conclude that cultural, moral, and political values interact in their influence on expressions of valuation and willingness to pay for ecosystem services.

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