New white paper highlights successful partnerships between water, agriculture entities

The National Association of Clean Water Agencies, U.S. Water Alliance and food and agriculture authority AGree have released a new white paper highlighting nine successful municipal-agricultural collaborations that address water quality issues at the watershed level.

Feb 3rd, 2015

Feb. 3, 2015 -- Today, the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), U.S. Water Alliance and food and agriculture authority AGree have released a new white paper highlighting nine successful municipal-agricultural collaborations that address water quality issues at the watershed level.

The three organizations collaborated on the effort to publish the white paper, titled "Collaborating for Healthy Watersheds," which describes partnership models between municipalities and farmers that can lead to progress on attaining water quality goals and reducing nutrient pollution in the nation's surface waters.

"When agricultural activities contribute to water quality impairments, as they too frequently do, it often means a big loss for us that work the land. It is our precious soil and expensive nutrients running into waterways that causes the problems," said Jim Moseley, Indiana farmer, AGree co-chair and former USDA deputy secretary. "There are win-win opportunities for farmers to work with water utilities to improve water quality in their watersheds. As the case studies in this paper demonstrate, the bottom line of both farmers and utilities can benefit from collaboration."

The traditional approach of building more advanced treatment facilities can result in an economic burden to many communities. Therefore, both water and wastewater utilities have looked for more cost-effective solutions to create healthy watersheds and high water quality. One of the most promising approaches is to look upstream in the watershed to see if there are ways to prevent nutrients and other pollutants from being released into waterways in collaboration with agriculture and other partners.

"What's become increasingly evident is that collaboration between agriculture and the water sector is key to water sustainably," explained Dick Champion, U.S. Water Alliance chair. "This report represents progress in that direction."

The nine highlighted projects discussed in the white paper include:

  • New York: New York City's Watershed Protection Program and Watershed Agricultural Council
  • Oregon: Tualatin River Enhanced Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program
  • Ohio: The Great Miami River Watershed Water Quality Credit Trading Program
  • Wisconsin: Yahara Watershed Improvement Network
  • California: Fresno-Clovis Regional Water Reclamation Facility Agricultural
  • Illinois: Lake Springfield Nitrogen Management Program
  • California: Central Valley Salinity Alternatives for Long-Term Sustainability
  • Florida: Northern Everglades and Estuaries Protection Program - Payment for Environmental Services
  • Texas: Arroyo Colorado Watershed Protection Plan

"We hope that the white paper will encourage many stakeholders to seriously consider and become involved in innovative collaborations with nontraditional partners to improve water quality in a more holistic manner," stated Ken Kirk, NACWA executive director. "This white paper demonstrates that such partnerships are indeed achievable and successful."

See also:

"NACWA, NMPF sign major MOU to enhance collaboration on watershed improvement projects"

"NACWA stresses need for solutions addressing water quality challenges"


About NACWA

The National Association of Clean Water Agencies represents the interests of more than 300 public agencies and organizations that have made the pursuit of scientifically based, technically sound and cost effective laws and regulations their objective. NACWA members serve the majority of the sewered population in the United States and collectively treat and reclaim more than 18 billion gallons of wastewater daily. For more information, visit www.nacwa.org.

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