Building a Water Quality Trading Program

Building a Water Quality Trading Program: Options and Considerations

Building a Water Quality Trading Program walks through 11 key elements many trading programs consider in their design, with examples, options, and clear pros and cons for program design to help stakeholders build a program that meets local needs. For each of these elements, there is no “one size fits all solution.” Instead, there are considerations that make different options more or less viable under different conditions.

Water quality trading programs are still evolving and must adapt to ever-changing circumstances and requirements, so this is a “living” document, open to additions and updates.

Stakeholder Summaries

These stakeholder summaries were written by National Network participants, each one authored by a member of a different stakeholder community – agriculture, clean water utilities, environmental advocates, regulatory agencies, and trading practitioners. The summaries provide an overview of why members of that community would care about trading, opportunities and challenges for participation, the roles that they are likely to play, and the critical issues affecting those communities most.


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Clean Water Community

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State and Interstate Water Quality Administrators

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Environmental Community

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Trading Practitioners

(web | print pdf)


Quick Links
Building a Water Quality Trading Program (6.1 MB, 222 pages)
Executive Summary
(1.3 MB, 6 pages)

Sector Specific Summaries:
For agriculture
For the clean water community
For state and interstate water quality administrators
For the environmental community
For trading practitioners

The contributors to the National Network engaged in an extensive dialogue to develop the publication, Building a Water Quality Trading Program: Options and Considerations, and believe that it represents a comprehensive, contextual, balanced, and robust collection of information on different, representative water quality trading programs. New and evolving water quality trading programs should look to this document as an important source of information as they build and update their trading programs.

This document does not represent a consensus opinion, endorsement, or particular recommendation from any one National Network contributor. It seeks to cover the broad range of topics related to water quality trading to assist local stakeholders to develop and implement trading frameworks that meet local needs and conditions. This document does not create any binding requirements or standards of practice. Ultimately, local stakeholders, state regulators, and/or U.S. EPA will clarify those requirements that apply to any particular trading programs or trading program participants.