Review by Hale Thurston of Report on Market-Based Approaches to Green Infrastructure Investment

Willamette Partnership, 2017

Willamette Partnership, 2017

Below is a review of the report titled, “Working With the Market:  Economic Instruments to Support Investment in Green Stormwater Infrastructure“, which was released in April, 2017 by the Willamette Partnership.  Seth Brown, of Storm and Stream Solutions, LLC, was a lead contributing author for this report.   The review below was provided by Dr. Hale Thurston, who has an extensive background in market-based dynamics in the stormwater sector.  As an author of two books and numerous publications in this area, he is a clear leader in this field.

This paper, a product of a 2016 gathering of experts in the area of green stormwater infrastructure, outlines some of the economic incentives that municipalities have at their disposal to deal with the very important and growing problem of stormwater runoff pollution.  Due to the increases in impervious surfaces, more and more cities are finding they must deal with very expensive pollution and flooding issues associated with stormwater.  The authors, Seth Brown and Carrie Sanneman, provide a very nice overview of the regulatory sticks and the economic carrots planners can use to incentivize the use of green infrastructure to solve this growing problem.  Green infrastructure installed economically can be a lower cost option to traditional, and sometimes cost-prohibitive, engineering designs.  The authors point out several co-benefits associated with green infrastructure, including economic development opportunities, improved public health, climate change mitigation, opportunities for stewardship and reduced uncertainty.  The paper provides an excellent and succinct overview of economic instruments that can be used to solve the problem such as fee and rebate plans, subsidies, insurance premium discounts, mitigation offsets, and credit trading programs.  Those who work in stormwater management should find this to be a useful primer on economic instruments and a good starting point when exploring the inclusion of economic incentives in storm water policy.

Hale W. Thurston, PhD

Stormwater Specialist