Longitudinal analysis of ecosystem services' socioeconomic benefits: Wastewater treatment projects in a desert city

Bjoern Hagen, David Pijawka, Mihir Prakash, Shreyash Sharma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


This paper addresses the socioeconomic dimensions and public perceptions of ecosystem services offered by “green” wastewater infrastructure in a desert city over 20 years, taking an in-depth look at the valuation of these services. While there was significant controversy and public conflict over the location of the original wastewater treatment facility and an initial decrease in property values, the average assessed property values in the study area increased relatively quickly. Within five years, they met and exceeded the average property values in the Metropolitan Phoenix Area. Our longitudinal study found that anticipated nuisance effects did not materialize with the operation of the facility and that residents were satisfied or very satisfied with the area's quality of life as well as its environmental quality. The results also show that the co-benefits of artificial wastewater wetlands and green recreational space associated with the use of effluent and groundwater recharge enhanced developments around these facilities, making these places socially acceptable. Finally, we determined that proximity to views of water and parks, especially in desert cities, adds substantial value. Home prices showed remarkable resiliency in neighborhoods around constructed water projects that filter effluent, provide enhanced place-making aesthetics and recharge the groundwater aquifer, the most critical ecosystem service.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-217
Number of pages9
JournalEcosystem Services
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017


  • Alternative wastewater treatment
  • Contingent valuation
  • Ecosystem services
  • Green infrastructure
  • Socioeconomic impacts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Ecology
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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