February 2011 Featured Collection: Issues in Water Quality Trading, Matthew T. Heberling, Associate Editor.
Policy makers have discovered that market mechanisms can play important roles in protecting and improving environmental quality by changing the economic signals an individual or firm faces. The current and growing interest in water quality trading stems from its potential as a flexible, low-cost way to achieve nutrient reduction goals and meet water quality standards compared to command-and- control approaches. But, does the theory really pan out?
At the 2008 AWRA Annual Water Resources Conference, New Orleans, Louisiana, a special session addressed some of the challenges surrounding water quality trading. Continuing the discussion from that conference, this featured collection takes a broad view of water quality trading. The objective of this collection is not to present an exhaustive list of recommendations for water quality trading; rather, it is to summarize some of the main features and current conditions while offering contrasting ideas or designs to avoid the pitfalls of existing programs.
In the coming days, I will highlight some of the excellent papers in this collection organized by our Associate Editor for Water Resource Economics, Matthew T. Heberling. Thank you, Matt, for organizing this!
[Please note: I have quoted and paraphrased freely from the article, but the interpretation is my own!]