The positive impacts of water sensitive urban investments on the environment, community well-being, and lifestyles are widely recognised, but the process of formally quantifying these intangible benefits remains an underdeveloped research area. The monetary value of intangible benefits can be estimated using non-market valuation techniques. Here, we provide a review of over 190 existing non-market valuation studies related to water sensitive urban systems and practices that have reported dollar value estimates for intangible benefits. The empirical evidence suggests that communities are willing to make financial contributions towards projects that deliver intangible benefits. As such, incorporating the intangible benefits of water sensitive urban systems and practices into project evaluation processes is important. Unfortunately, attempts to evaluate water-sensitive urban projects based on both tangible and intangible benefits are rare. The summary and synthesis of existing research in this area is presented in the hope that it will facilitate greater use of intangible benefits in project evaluations.

Last updated: 27th Apr 2020