EPA Releases Synthesis Report on the Importance of Water to the U.S. Economy

On November 6, EPA announced the release of a Synthesis Report on the Importance of Water to the U.S. Economy. The report is intended to help raise the awareness of water’s importance to the national economic welfare, and to summarize information that public and private decision-makers can use to better manage the nation’s water resources. The report highlights EPA’s review of the literature and practice on the importance of water to the U.S. economy, identifies key data gaps, and describes the implication of the study’s findings for future research. EPA intends this report will be a catalyst for a broader discussion about water’s critical role in the U.S. economy. Nancy Stoner, Acting Assistant Administrator for Water stated in a message to the water sector that “water is vital to a productive and growing economy in the United States, and directly affects the production of many goods and services.” While some data are available about how important clean and available water is to various economic sectors–including agriculture, tourism, fishing, manufacturing, and energy production — the information is often dispersed and incomplete. Stoner added “understanding the economic significance of water is difficult because it depends upon several interacting elements: the volume supplied, where and when it is supplied, whether the supply is reliable, and whether the quality of the water meets the requirements of its intended use.”

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