24/03/2010 03:11

All of Israel’s streams are polluted, from a variety of sources.

Residents are willing to allocate NIS 246 per year of their household’s tax money to rehabilitate streams, a study by Zalul environmental economist Dr. Boaz Barak has found.

The survey was released on Tuesday.

The study – “How Much are We willing to Pay for Clean Streams?” – devised a method to quantify the public’s desire for clean streams to swim in, fish, walk alongside or use the water from. The monetary value was comprised of a composite of the desire to use the water itself and the land next to it. According to the study, each person was willing to have NIS 246 a year of their tax money funneled to rehabilitation. Altogether, that would come to NIS 415m. per year, given 1.69 million households in the country.

That’s enough, according to Zalul, to rehabilitate most of the nation’s streams over the next five to 10 years. All of the streams are polluted, from a variety of sources.

Barak found that people aged 35-44 were the most likely to want to rehabilitate the streams and were willing to pay the most to do so – NIS 296. According to the economist, people of that age cohort were the most likely to make use of a rehabilitated stream, so it made sense that they were willing to spend the most to clean it. He also suggested that those 55 and older be targeted by a PR campaign, because they were the least likely to see any benefit in clean streams.

Unsurprisingly, the study also found that those who lived closer to streams were far more likely to be willing to have their tax money used for rehabilitation purposes than those who lived farther away. Barak suggested explaining to people how close they were to a polluted stream or connecting them to a particular stream, since that increased the willingness to allocate funds.