The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced funding to six universities to work with local communities to better understand the economic value of water quality.

“Clean water is a cornerstone of a healthy community. Many communities face challenging decisions about investing in the protection of water resources,” says Thomas Burke, EPA science advisory and deputy assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Research and Development. “These grants will help measure the costs and benefits of improving water quality, an important step toward protecting the environment and human health.”

Chemical and microbial contaminants continue to reduce the quality of our water – and often at a rate that outpaces water-quality improvements from regulatory actions. The research grants announced will help communities and experts conduct benefit-cost analyses for actions that protect our waterways.

Related: University of Texas at Austin Student Wins EPA Grant for Water Quality Study

This research will also provide a critical link between water-quality science and the monetary value of the services that healthy waterways provide, including recreational uses. 

The grants are being awarded to the following institutions:

  • Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts, will estimate water-quality benefits throughout river systems in the Northeast.
  • Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, will create a framework for linking the health of small streams to water-quality indicators and ecosystem services that people recognize and fundamentally value.
  • University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut, will quantify the value of changes in water quality, both in terms of the value to the environment and their value to the economy.
  • North Carolina State University at Raleigh, Raleigh, North Carolina, will develop and demonstrate methods for valuing the benefits of water quality in wadeable streams in Southeast watersheds where the surrounding area is undergoing increased urban development.
  • Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, will estimate value caused by changes in nutrients to the freshwater systems in Michigan.
  • Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, will quantify the value water quality improvements in Midwestern ecosystems.

More information about water research grants: www.epa.gov/research-grants/water-research-grants

Related: EPA Awards $13 Million in Small System Grants

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