Economic valuation of selected direct and indirect use values of the Makgadikgadi wetland system, Botswana
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Economic valuation of wetlands aims to investigate public preferences for changes in the state of the wetland and the natural resources it constitutes in monetary terms. It provides a means of quantifying the direct and indirect benefits that people derive from wetlands. In addition, it informs management planning and practice about resource options, optimal allocation and also provides information for conservation of the resource. The Makgadikgadi wetland is a unique system that mostly consists of dry pans during most part of the year despite the fact that this year (2010), the pans were fairly wet. This study aimed at estimating the value of groundwater recharge and community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) activities within the Makgadikgadi wetland resource and how these services and goods contribute to the local and national economy. The Total Economic Valuation approach was adopted and this considers both the direct and indirect use values of the resource. In essence, the study concentrated on one direct use value (use of resources through CBNRM) and one indirect use value (groundwater recharge). In regards to CBNRM, three community based organizations (CBOs) were selected for the study and static and dynamic cost benefit models for these CBOs were developed. The groundwater recharge value was largely determined through desktop review and interviews with stakeholders such as representatives from the Division of Groundwater within the Department of Water Affairs. The results indicate a small positive contribution of CBOs towards the economy of Botswana and a high potential for communities to derive substantial benefits from the projects because currently benefits realised by communities are limited. CBOs involved in joint venture partnerships with tourism and hunting enterprises benefit more from utilizing the wetland’s resources. With regards to groundwater recharge, recharge often occur in areas away from the physical location of the wetland and may not be easily attributable to the wetland. However, the study assessed the value taking into consideration the various sectors which rely on the groundwater resource. The groundwater recharge value is significant (about BWP 10 million) but lower when compared with the value generated by the Okavango delta (BWP16 million). Given future increases in water demands, groundwater abstraction will exceed recharge thus hampering the availability of the resource for the future generations and maintenance of the environment.
community-based natural resources management