Water Quality Credit Trading in the Laguna de Santa Rosa
Water quality credit trading is a concept that allows point source dischargers (e.g., wastewater treatment plants or municipal stormwater systems) to help meet pollution reduction needs by paying for nonpoint source reductions elsewhere in the watershed (e.g., manure management projects or erosion controls). Where voluntary nonpoint source reductions can be quantified, credits may be generated. For example, if a streambank restoration project or agricultural buffer can prevent 5,000 pounds of nitrogen and phosphorus from entering a waterbody through erosion reduction, then that project could possibly be used to generate credits that will offset an equivalent nutrient discharge from the point source. This helps municipalities continue to cost-effectively operate vital services such as sewer systems and stormwater drainage systems while improving water quality and providing opportunities to improve infrastructure and management practices on rural and Ag lands.
Water quality credit trading has been successfully carried out in other states in the U.S., and this project will draw on resources from many of these programs in order to develop a market that will be locally effective.
Resources:Water Quality Credit Trading