Thursday, June 8, 2017
11:00 - 12:30

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11:00 - 11:15: / 301B ECOSYSTEM SERVICES AND PRICING WATER FOR FRESHWATER CONSERVATION

6/08/2017  |   11:00 - 11:15   |  301B

Ecosystem Services and Pricing Water For Freshwater Conservation Ecosystem services provide benefits in several ways. These include production of food and water, control of climate and disease, nutrient cycles and crop pollination and spiritual and recreational benefits. When water quality fell below standards in New York City, an investment in the headwaters using ecosystem services and water purification helped the city meet drinking water standards. Water use has been shown to decrease with increases in price. In Florida, supplies were dwindling with an increasing population so utilities had to raise rates to encourage conservation. Many deem increases in water rates as discriminatory toward lower income people. There are several avenues to water rate structures that will provide benefits to everyone and to the ecosystems utilized on a daily basis.

Kimberly Elkin (Primary Presenter/Author), The Nature Conservancy, kelkin@tnc.org;


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11:15 - 11:30: / 301B RIVER FLOODPLAIN VALUE PROVIDED BY RESTORATION THAT ENHANCES ECOSYSTEM SERVICE VALUE, NUTRIENT RETENTION, AND SUSTAINABILITY.

6/08/2017  |   11:15 - 11:30   |  301B

RIVER FLOODPLAIN VALUE PROVIDED BY RESTORATION THAT ENHANCES ECOSYSTEM SERVICE VALUE, NUTRIENT RETENTION, AND SUSTAINABILITY. Rivers and floodplains are complex systems that support many ecosystem services. However, most floodplain systems have experienced decreased connectivity and diminished ecosystem services due to flood and other hardened infrastructure. This infrastructure is aging and degraded, which provides opportunities to enhance ecosystem services as river floodplain infrastructure is repaired and restored. Here we provide several case studies that demonstrate the value of ecosystem services including an estimate for total ecosystem value of restored floodplains, the effects of levee setback on floodplains hydrology and nutrients, and improvements in nutrient retention following legacy sediment removal. Our results from these case studies show that cultural (e.g. recreation and aesthetics) and regulating services (e.g. nutrient retention, erosion control, and flood moderation) were the most valuable with total value of $11,000 to $43,000 per acre per year. We also found that floodplain restoration can enhance physical and biological services including subsurface hydrologic connectivity and nutrient retention. By considering the value of ecosystem services as floodplain infrastructure is repaired and replaced, decisions that lead to more benefits can be realized. This is an abstract of a proposed presentation and does not necessarily reflect EPA policy.

Kenneth Forshay (Primary Presenter/Author), U.S. EPA, forshay.ken@epa.gov;


Charlotte Narr ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), U.S. EPA - NRC Fellow, narr.charlotte@epa.gov;


Harsh Singh ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), U.S. EPA, singh.harsh@epa.gov;


Kanchan Shrestha ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), ICIMOD, shresthakan@gmail.com;


Julie Weitzman ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), CUNY Advanced Science Research Center and Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, NY USA, weitzmanj@caryinstitute.org;


Bart Faulkner ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), U.S. EPA, Faulkner.bart@epa.gov;


Ann Keeley ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), U.S. EPA, keely.ann@epa.gov;


Paul Mayer ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), United States Environmental Protection Agency, mayer.paul@epa.gov;


Joel Freudenthal ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), County of Yakima, WA, joel.freudenthal@co.yakima.wa.us;


Mike Price ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), City of Yakima, Mike.Price@yakimawa.gov;


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11:45 - 12:00: / 301B DO WE NEED TO CHANGE THE WAY WE VALUE WATER?

6/08/2017  |   11:45 - 12:00   |  301B

DO WE NEED TO CHANGE THE WAY WE VALUE WATER? Economists describe water as an economic good; this provides the context for developing pricing policies which can promote wise management and resource sustainability. Water utilities are faced with increasing (and largely fixed) costs for providing water and wastewater services, while water usage per capita has declined, primarily due to the requirement for water efficient fixtures. This has created a conundrum for utilities, particularly those who have implemented volumetric pricing structures to promote conservation: the desire for increased revenues equates to the need for increased, rather than decreased volumetric usage. To insure fiscal sustainability, utilities may reduce their reliance on variable charges (volumetric) by increasing their base charges, but this reduces the conservation/price signal, particularly for lower volume users. Another option for pricing, based on quality, would assess a higher value to more pristine, higher quality water, and a lower value to source waters of lower quality. Such a paradigm shift in pricing may require a significant shift in political thinking, but the advantage is that pricing differentials based on quality could generate significant revenues for resource management and protection.

Diane Lauritsen (Primary Presenter/Author), Mount Pleasant Waterworks, ddlauritsen@comcast.net;


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12:00 - 12:15: / 301B WATER USE PATTERNS IN A SMALL OKLAHOMA CITY DURING DROUGHT

6/08/2017  |   12:00 - 12:15   |  301B

WATER USE PATTERNS IN A SMALL OKLAHOMA CITY DURING DROUGHT The City of Ada Oklahoma obtains water from the Simpson-Arbuckle aquifer located 19 km south of town. During winter the typical water demand is approximately 15,000 m3 per day, while during the drought of 2011 demand more than doubled. In order to understand water use patterns, customer billing records and property data were analyzed, using the county-assessor market value of residences as a primary metric. Within each category of market value, a small number of residences used more water than average causing each distribution to skew. Water use increased consistently with market value, but when taken in total, residences in the lowest market value category used the most water (because of their large number). The data indicate sensitivity to price indirectly through customer response and directly where price differentials were identified. In a validation example, the data were able to predict cold and hot season water use in a neighborhood defined by market value. An unexplained feature of the data was the almost exact correspondence between residential and commercial use. Various commercial water users significantly increased water use in hot season apparently due to outside water use.

Jim Weaver (Primary Presenter/Author), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, weaver.jim@epa.gov;


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12:15 - 12:30: / 301B TRADING-OFF SOCIO-ECONOMIC AND ECOLOGICAL OUTCOMES ASSOCIATED WITH MUNICIPAL WATER SUPPLY

6/08/2017  |   12:15 - 12:30   |  301B

Trading-off socio-economic and ecological outcomes associated with municipal water supply The economic, social, and ecological imperative for sound management of limited freshwater is undeniable. River management often requires trade-offs among these crucial objectives, and a decision framework should be transparent, fair, repeatable, and capable of demonstrating the costs and benefits of alternative management strategies. The quantity, timing, and quality of water flows affects the integrity and long-term resilience of river ecosystems and the human populations dependent on these systems. Although the importance of flow management is widely acknowledged, challenges arise in specifically identifying the quantity, timing, and quality of water flows needed to obtain a desirable and sustainable socio-economic and ecological state. This case study examines competing outcomes associated with water management in the Middle Oconee River near Athens, Georgia. Operated by a four-county authority, Bear Creek Reservoir is an off-channel, pump-storage reservoir, which withdraws water from the Middle Oconee River for municipal water supply. This project uses structured decision making to examine some of the economic and ecological trade-offs associated with alternative pumping schemes. In particular, we focus on developing a scientific basis for informing flow management in the Middle Oconee River. Outcomes of river management actions are presented relative to socio-economic endpoints of municipal water supply and recreational kayaking as well as ecological outcomes of hydrologic change, fisheries production, and sediment and organic matter transport. Each of these “lines of evidence” contributes to our understanding of how alternative management actions affect the system as a whole and inform decision making. Contrary to common assumptions, ecological and socio-economic outcomes are both shown to benefit from novel flow management schemes. This case study provides a variety of transferrable tools to examine the trade-offs and synergies associated with managing water for multiple objectives.

Kyle McKay (Primary Presenter/Author), US Army Corps of Engineers, kyle.mckay@usace.army.mil;


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