Sustainable water management has become an urgent challenge due to irregular water availability patterns and water quality issues. The effect of climate change exacerbates this phenomenon in water-scarce areas, such as the Mediterranean region, stimulating the implementation of solutions aiming to mitigate or improve environmental, social, and economic conditions. A novel solution inspired by nature, technology-oriented, explored in the past years, is constructed wetlands. Commonly applied for different types of wastewater due to its low cost and simple maintenance, they are considered a promising solution to remove pollutants while creating an improved ecosystem by increasing biodiversity around them. This research aims to assess the sustainability of two typologies of constructed wetlands in two Italian areas: Sicily, with a vertical subsurface flow constructed wetland, and Emilia Romagna, with a surface flow constructed wetland. The assessment is performed by applying a costbenefit analysis combining primary and secondary data sources. The analysis considered the market and nonmarket values in both proposed scenarios to establish the feasibility of the two options and identify the most convenient one. Results show that both constructed wetlands bring more benefits (benefits-cost ratio, BCR) than costs (BCR > 0). In the case of Sicily, the BCR is lower (1) in the constructed wetland scenario, while in its absence it is almost double. If other ecosystem services are included the constructed wetland scenario reach a BCR of 4 and a ROI of 5, showing a better performance from a costing perspective than the absence one. In Emilia Romagna, the constructed wetland scenario shows a high BCR (10) and ROI (9), while the scenario in absence has obtained a negative present value indicating that the cost do not cover the benefits expected. Further research should be focused on improving ecosystem services monetary quantification from different context (i.e. rural vs urban).

Cost-benefit of green infrastructures for water management: A sustainability assessment of full-scale constructed wetlands in Northern and Southern Italy

Laura García-Herrero
Primo
;
Stevo Lavrnic
Secondo
;
Valentina Guerrieri;Attilio Toscano;Matteo Vittuari
Ultimo
2022

Abstract

Sustainable water management has become an urgent challenge due to irregular water availability patterns and water quality issues. The effect of climate change exacerbates this phenomenon in water-scarce areas, such as the Mediterranean region, stimulating the implementation of solutions aiming to mitigate or improve environmental, social, and economic conditions. A novel solution inspired by nature, technology-oriented, explored in the past years, is constructed wetlands. Commonly applied for different types of wastewater due to its low cost and simple maintenance, they are considered a promising solution to remove pollutants while creating an improved ecosystem by increasing biodiversity around them. This research aims to assess the sustainability of two typologies of constructed wetlands in two Italian areas: Sicily, with a vertical subsurface flow constructed wetland, and Emilia Romagna, with a surface flow constructed wetland. The assessment is performed by applying a costbenefit analysis combining primary and secondary data sources. The analysis considered the market and nonmarket values in both proposed scenarios to establish the feasibility of the two options and identify the most convenient one. Results show that both constructed wetlands bring more benefits (benefits-cost ratio, BCR) than costs (BCR > 0). In the case of Sicily, the BCR is lower (1) in the constructed wetland scenario, while in its absence it is almost double. If other ecosystem services are included the constructed wetland scenario reach a BCR of 4 and a ROI of 5, showing a better performance from a costing perspective than the absence one. In Emilia Romagna, the constructed wetland scenario shows a high BCR (10) and ROI (9), while the scenario in absence has obtained a negative present value indicating that the cost do not cover the benefits expected. Further research should be focused on improving ecosystem services monetary quantification from different context (i.e. rural vs urban).
Laura García-Herrero, Stevo Lavrnic, Valentina Guerrieri, Attilio Toscano, Mirco Milani, Giuseppe Luigi Cirelli, Matteo Vittuari
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/895282
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