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Under a grant from the William Penn Foundation, The Nature Conservancy
in Delaware and UD's Water Resources Agency are conducting a feasibility
study on the implementation of a "water fund" for the
1:52 p.m., April 8, 2014--Under a grant from the William Penn
Foundation, The Nature Conservancy in Delaware (TNC) and the University
of Delawares Water Resources Agency (WRA) are conducting a feasibility study on the implementation of a water fund for the Brandywine-Christina watershed.
At its most basic level, a water fund is a mechanism for downstream beneficiaries to invest in
upstream conservation and restoration measures designed to secure
freshwater resources -- both quality and quantity -- for people and
The grant is part of a $35 million multi-year initiative by the
William Penn Foundation to protect and restore critical sources of
drinking water for 15 million people. The total set of grants fund an
unprecedented collaboration of leading conservation organizations that
will align their work to protect land, restore streams, test innovative
approaches in ecologically significant places, and monitor results over
We couldnt be more grateful for this opportunity, said Richie
Jones, TNCs Delaware state director. The William Penn Foundations
bold and unprecedented initiative squares perfectly with The Nature
Conservancys global priority of securing freshwater, our
science-driven, whole-watershed-scale approach to conservation and our
recognition that collaboration is vital to accomplishing meaningful and
During the first year of the project, TNC and UD will assess the
feasibility of a water fund for the Brandywine-Christina, including a
review of case studies, technical analysis, engagement of an advisory
panel, interviews with key stakeholders, and the preparation of a final
report with detailed recommendations.
The Brandywine-Christina watershed provides over 100 million gallons
of drinking water a day to more than half a million people, including
approximately 60 percent of Delawares residents. The watershed covers
565 square miles, crossing Delaware, Pennsylvania and Maryland.
The Brandywine-Christina provides real and significant economic
benefits to Delaware and Pennsylvania, explained Gerald J. Kauffman,
director of UDs Water Resources Agency, which is a unit of the
Institute for Public Administration within the School of Public Policy
and Administration. The value of drinking water alone in the
Brandywine-Christina is $276 million, and when you add additional
economic benefits such as agriculture, water quality, and recreation,
the value of the watershed is over $1.6 billion. Improving the health of
the watershed will support jobs and is essential for economic growth.
Our hats are off to the William Penn Foundation for this incredibly
Legacy pollutants, nutrient overloads, failing septic systems and
urban runoff have rendered the great majority of streams, rivers and
lakes in the Brandywine-Christina watershed unsafe for swimming and
fishing, let alone drinking without substantial processing and
treatment. Lack of consistent and stable funding is one of the biggest
obstacles to progress in restoring the watershed.
UD and TNC are hopeful that a water fund may help solve that problem
by allowing strategic, science-driven prioritization of restoration
projects and creative financing options to provide capital sufficient to
meet water quality goals (swimmable, fishable, potable) by 2025.
William Penns $35 million investment in the Delaware River Watershed
features eight clusters of sub-watersheds, constituting approximately
25 percent of the total Delaware River Basin across four states, where
analysis has shown that investment in targeted efforts to protect or
improve water quality in specific streams and rivers could deliver
Restoration and preservation efforts in these sub-watersheds, like
the Brandywine-Christina water fund work, not only contribute directly
to the water quality in the Delaware Basin, but will also serve as
incubators for cultivating a wide range of effective approaches for
expanding investment across the watershed, and ultimately in other river
basins across the country.
Photo by Evan Krape
Originally published by UDaily
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