The EPA awards nearly $741,054 in research grants to the University of Texas at Austin

DALLAS, TEXAS (November 17, 2022) – The US Environmental Protection Agency announced a grant from the University of Texas at Austin totaling $741,054 for research to refine measuring the benefits of water quality improvements. The research conducted will also be used to determine the impact of water quality by examining three major coastal areas with bodies of water, including Puget Sound, Long Island Sound and the Texas Gulf Coast.

“Maintaining healthy water quality standards in our coastal regions is a high priority for all communities in our country,” said regional administrator Dr. Earthea Nance. “In the face of climate change, coastal regions are critical not only for public health, but also for the health of a wide variety of organisms. We thank the University of Texas at Austin for taking the initiative to study such an important area in Texas.”

The positive effects of a healthy body of water allow a reduction in water treatment costs in the surrounding areas. By prioritizing the study on three coastal areas, the research team will be able to estimate the impact on property values ​​due to changes in water quality. Upon completion of the study, the results will be widely disseminated through several peer-reviewed journal articles, two doctoral theses and social media.

In the United States, the beneficial effects of healthy water bodies can be extensive. These benefits include recreational uses such as swimming, boating, and wildlife viewing, as well as higher property values ​​and lower drinking water treatment costs. Quantifying these benefits can help inform water quality decisions at the national, state, tribal, and local levels.

However, there are many gaps in the existing research, such as B. Assessing improvements in water quality in many areas, the benefits of improvements in coastal areas, and how changes in water quality can impact underserved communities. To fill these and other research gaps, funded projects will assess the economic benefits and costs, including predicting environmental equity and other distributional consequences of improvements in surface water quality across the country.

The full list of universities receiving awards is below:

University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota to identify water quality improvements and river rehabilitation along the Mississippi River to improve understanding of the benefits, costs and equity considerations of water quality improvement investments.

University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin to collect data and select models that quantify watershed stressors to estimate the economic benefits of surface water quality improvements at statewide locations in a scientifically valid manner.

University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, to use a two-stage model to generate regional water quality rating estimates for three understudied regions.

University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri to conduct research with community partners to assess how diverse populations value improvements in water quality and aquatic resources in Midwestern reservoirs.

Learn more about the sponsored recipients.

learn more about EPA Research Grants.

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