- Understand why interest in water quality trading and demand for water quality credits has been slow.
- Find guidance in an Action Agenda designed to get water quality trading on the ground in more watersheds as a cost-effective way to provide clean water and deliver multiple other benefits for communities, fish, and wildlife.
Water quality trading is a cost-effective way to meet clean water goals and deliver multiple benefits for people, fish, and wildlife. Yet, compared to other environmental markets (think: carbon offsets), interest and demand for water quality credit trading has been slow to catch on.
The new report, “Breaking Down Barriers: Priority Actions for Advancing Water Quality Trading,” from the National Network on Water Quality Trading, investigates what’s keeping water quality trading on the sidelines and proposes a detailed action agenda to help get water quality trading on the ground in more watersheds across the United States.
To understand the barriers that keep credit buyers from pursuing new water quality trading programs or purchasing credits in existing markets, the National Network on Water Quality Trading (“National Network”) coordinated a four-part demand assessment:
- Over 50 stakeholder interviews on the barriers and opportunities that exist today.
- Review of lessons learned about demand drivers from other environmental markets in the United States.
- Examination of the timelines and decision-making processes associated with implementing water quality trading.
- Mapping the core predictors of demand for water quality credits and stormwater trading across the U.S.
Proponents of water quality trading can use this action agenda to inform budgeting, grant-making, work-planning, and fundraising efforts. The report also includes specific steps for state regulatory agencies, U.S. EPA, credit buyers, and nonprofit or foundation partners to, for example, provide clarity around models that quantify credits; create templates that ease program design; offer realistic expectations around the time and expenses involved; and, ensure grant-making programs are better designed to support trading program development, among other efforts.