WATER RESOURCES RESEARCH GRANT PROPOSAL
Project ID: 2005DE56B
Title: Landowner Perceptions of the Stringency of Water Quality Regulations in Delaware
Project Type: Research
Focus Categories: Law, Institutions, and Policy, Non Point Pollution, Water Quality
Start Date: 05/01/2005
End Date: 02/28/2006
Federal Funds: $1,750
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $3,500
Congressional District: At Large
Surface water quality continues to be a critical problem in Delaware. Currently, 79% of Delaware’s streams and rivers are unsuitable for swimming, and 80% of Delaware’s year-round streams are considered moderately-to-severely damaged. Legislative initiatives, including the federal Clean Water Act and the state Nutrient Management Act, provide a rich portfolio of policies to improve Delaware’s water quality. Yet, waters continue to be impaired and this leads one to wonder whether new policies are needed or whether existing policies must be reconceptualized, targeted, or simply better enforced.
This problem of policy shortcomings or inadequacies may be examined from various perspectives. Politicians, policy makers, and scientists likely appreciate the tradeoffs between acceptability and effectiveness required to generate workable policies. Yet, the public demands water quality services that may be entirely disconnected from the science. Finally, landowners supply water quality through their atomistic land-use behaviors in ways that do not necessarily correspond to the policy designs.
This project focuses on the third source of problems in water quality policy—understanding landowners’ perceptions of the policy environment.