29 May 2019

Utilities, governments and industries invest billions in water supply and treatment infrastructure. Typically, projects involve built capital like treatment plants or dams and man-made inputs like power and treatment chemicals. Recently, there has been increasing interest in “natural capital” investments that essentially restore and enhance the capacity of natural processes to improve water quality, quantity.

Introduced by Dr Kane Aldridge, Goyder Institute for Water Research, Presented by Professor Jeff Connor, UniSA and moderated by Dr Leon van der Linden, SA Water, the presentation demonstrates a best practice approach to natural capital investment analysis featuring transparent treatment of the considerable uncertainties. It is demonstrated for a case study comparing costs of implementing buffer strips to economic benefit values of avoided water treatment plus carbon sequestration. Evaluation is at catchment scale for the Happy Valley SA Water Reservoir supply catchment assuming tree buffers along a proportion of presently cleared streambanks.