The Economic Impact Committee is responsible for weighing the costs and benefits to the community and the environment for different water quality management options. The committee requirements and goals are
- Cost estimates and funding commitments to implement the water quality restoration activities.
- Recommend metrics of success
- Current and future economic impact to industry, business, and economic efforts, including direct, indirect and induced impacts
- Develop cost benefit analysis that will articulate to the community why this process is necessary
- Develop comparison to traditional total maximum daily load (TMDL) path
Economic Impact Committee Participants
- City of Greenville
- Greenville Chamber
- Home Builders Association of Greenville, SC
- Upstate Forever
Committee Activity Summaries
- During the August meeting, the committ reviewed proposed riparian buffer requirements for the Reedy River watershed provided by the Best Management Practices Committee.
- Earth Economics (EE) expressed the need for the annual flow of services in order to generate 2016 asset values for the economic services valuation. The Committee directed EE to use the GIS map as presented on the Greenville County website as the baseline for the current value of the Reedy River.
- EE also requested parcel and assessed value information on properties in the basin. Chris Bailey will provide this information to EE.
- The Committee noted that they were not aware of any other land use changes being considered at this time.
- Sandra Ralston will request the BMP to update their map for the proposed buffer changes and provide to our Committee.
- Earth Economics representatives reviewed the outline for the economic analysis report.
- Sandra Ralston noted that Laurens County Water and Sewer Commission (LCWSC) had applied to Greenwood County (GWC) for a water intake permit, which will add value to the Reedy River and Lake Greenwood. She will send official information on this request to EE. Sandra also reported that LCWSC and GWC want to use our model to evaluate their water quality and extend our project to their area.
- Tania Briceno with EE will send the Committee a draft of the real estate economic service values on Friday, August 11.
- EE requested more current visitor and use information on parks and recreations sites along the Reedy River to evaluate the baseline recreational impact and potential future gains through this project. The Committee directed EE to contact City and County recreation departments for this information. Patricia Carson will provide paddling contact information.
- Bill Spearman suggested that EE review and consider the findings in the Cornell University study on the Chesapeake Bay to assist in determining the impact of water quality on housing prices. Tania Briceno confirmed that they would do so.
- Bill Spearman noted that Fujifilm Manufacturing located in Greenwood County because of the water availability from Lake Greenwood. The Committee requested that EE research other industries that have done the same.
- During the fourth quarter of 2016, the Economic Impact Committee solicited proposals from environmental/economic organizations to conduct an economic impact study of the value of clean water. In addition, the study will compare the costs of the stakeholder-led watershed restoration against the costs of the original TMDL conducted by DHEC. The committee intent is to quantify the economic and non-economic benefits of restoring the Reedy River. During a committee meeting December 2, the committee members selected Earth Economics, Tacoma, WA, to recommend to the RRWQG Executive Committee for the study.Following approval by the Executive Committee, the committee worked to assure that financial contributions from RRWQG stakeholders were in place to defray some of the study costs for the executive sponsors; and to review the contract.It is anticipated that the contract will be executed by March 10. The next activity for the committee will be a Kick-Meeting Call organized by the consultant, Earth Economics.
- The Committee met twice in September in order to develop its work plan and align tasks with the Project Schedule. The committee reviewed performance criteria normally associated with water quality projects, such as value efficiency, compliance, and triple bottom line, in order to recommend criteria for measuring performance of best management practices to the Executive Committee. The criteria will be part of the evaluation of the menu of best management practices that will be referred to the Economic Impact Committee from the Best Management Practices Committee when complete. The Committee also will provide an estimate of the costs of non-compliance in terms of regulatory penalties and any impacts to the regional economy from not improving water quality in the Watershed. The committee members agreed that it would be necessary to contact an economist experienced in environmental economic assessments to assist with the cost/benefit evaluation and engaged Professor Ken Peterson Ph.D from Furman University at a very productive meeting in October. The Committee’s next meeting is November 6.
- The Committee is scheduling a meeting September 8 or September 9 to map their path forward, based on the schedules and deliverables of the other committees. Although dependent on the work plans of the other committees to eventually evaluate the cost/benefit of alternative Best Management Practices, the Committee will be working on benefit criteria to recommend to the Executive Committee and identifying sources of information.
Request for Letter of Interest
The Reedy River Water Quality Group is requesting invited professionals to indicate their interest in conducting a study of the economic impacts of water quality improvements in the Reedy River watershed. Background on the Group, the nature of the study, and information requested for response is detailed below. Deadline for receipt of the Letter of Interest is June 6, 2016.