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Table 2 Examples of economic activities most affected by the loss of watershed services

From: Priority areas for watershed service conservation in the Guapi-Macacu region of Rio de Janeiro, Atlantic Forest, Brazil

Economic activities and damage caused by the loss of watershed services Examples of incurred costs/damages due to the loss of watershed services Source
Activities that depend on reservoirs Capacity loss for energy generation Veiga [2008]; Reis [2004]
Capacity loss of irrigated production
Loss of benefits related to flood control
Capacity loss of navigation channels
Increase of suspended material/siltation of water bodies resulting in a reduction of their storage capacity
Drainage and maintenance operations Costs related to (a) irrigation and drainage of channels, (b) hydroelectric plant reservoirs, (c) ports and (d) eutrophication (increase concentration of N and P in water bodies) Veiga [2008]; Reis [2004]
Increased water treatment costs related to augmented turbidity One example are watersheds in São Paulo with lower costs related to consumption of chemical products for the water treating process (less than 20 BRLa per 1,000 m3 of treated water) were those with a forest cover higher than 15%. The two water treatment units with less percentage of forest cover (Piracicaba and Atibaia rivers with less than 10% forest cover) show considerably higher specific costs of chemical products Reis [2004]; Dearmont et al. [1998]; Holmes [1988], Moore and McCarl [1987]
Monetary damages related to sedimentation Additional annual costs from 35 to 661 million USD for a US water treatment plant due to soil erosion. These values relate strongly to agricultural production causing sedimentation López [1997]; Holmes [1988]
Additional annual operational cost of 3.2 BRL per hectare and 0.10 BRL per ton of eroded soil for the water treatment of the river Corumbataí in São Paulo. These estimates were made assuming that the only externality caused by soil erosion were increased water treatment costs but not taking into account siltation of river banks, flooding of areas close to river banks and loss of navigation capacity
  1. a1 USD is equivalent to 2.38 BRL at current exchange rate ( This rate will be used onwards in this document when comparison among monetary units is required.