Water Quality and Sanitation

ARE Economists, many associated with CEnREP, have been investigating the economics of water quality, water sanitation and demand for water. The research is applied and is instrumental in the design of sound policy.

The work includes:

  • estimating the benefits of sanitation programs in developing countries
  • the willingness to pay for clean water and for water quality

Economists work with local communities in order to better understand the economic value of improving water quality in North Carolina as well as other southeastern states. The work is often multi-disciplinary working with engineers and applied ecologists.

Clean water is a cornerstone of healthy communities which face decisions about investing in the protection of water resources. These decisions should be based on the costs and benefits of improving water quality, and lead to protecting the environment and human health. Growing population and economic growth in the Southeast, combined with drought events lead to significant water quality degradation and potential rationing of water use.

Chemical and microbial contaminants continue to reduce the quality of our water – and often at a rate that outpaces water quality improvements from regulatory actions. ARE-CEnREP research and outreach activities are at the forefront of the water debate in NC.