The economic benefits of rainwater-runoff reduction by urban green spaces: A case study in Beijing,
The rainwater stored by green spaces almost corresponds to the water needs of landscape plants. The economic value is equivalent to three-quarters of their maintenance cost. Beijing can profit from improved rainwater drainage through urban green spaces.
Zhang, Biao, et al. (2012). The economic benefits of rainwater-runoff reduction by urban green spaces: A case study in Beijing, China. Journal of Environmental Management. 100 (June 15): 65 - 71
Urbanization involves the replacement of vegetated surfaces with impervious built surfaces, and it often results in an increase in the rate and volume of rainwater surface runoff. Urban green spaces play a positive role in rainwater-runoff reduction. However, few studies have explored the benefits of rainwater-runoff reduction by urban green spaces. Based on inventory data of urban green spaces in Beijing, the paper evaluated the economic benefits of rainwater-runoff reduction by urban green spaces, using the rainwater-runoff-coefficient method as well as the economic valuation methods.
The results showed that, 2494 cubic meters of potential runoff was reduced per hectare of green area and a total volume of 154 million cubic meters rainwater was stored in these urban green spaces, which almost corresponds to the annual water needs of the urban ecological landscape in Beijing. The total economic benefit was 1.34 billion RMB in 2009 (RMB: Chinese currency, US$1 = RMB6.83), which is equivalent to three-quarters of the maintenance cost of Beijing’s green spaces; the value of rainwater-runoff reduction was 21.77 thousand RMB per hectare. In addition, the benefits in different districts and counties were ranked in the same order as urban green areas, and the average benefits per hectare of green space showed different trends, which may be related to the impervious surface index in different regions. This research will contribute to an understanding of the role that Beijing’s green spaces play in rainwater regulation and in the creation and scientific management of urban green spaces.