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CEREO August 2016

Human activities harm water quality, raise treatment costs

By Eric Sorensen, WSU science writer

Julie-PadowskiPULLMAN, Wash. – Julie Padowski, clinical assistant professor at Washington State University, has found that the loss of land cover around cities has increased pollution and raised the cost of water treatment.

Writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, she and coauthors say 90 percent of large cities around the world have lost natural land cover to agriculture and development since 1900.

The degradation of watersheds has affected water-treatment costs for nearly one-third of the more than 300 cities in the study. The affected cities saw operation and maintenance costs rise by more than half.

Padowski does research in the Water Research Center and Center for Environmental Research, Education and Outreach at WSU.

Leading the study was Robert McDonald, a scientist for the Nature Conservancy. His colleagues are Padowski and Katherine Weber of Yale University.

An abstract of the paper is available here. The Washington Post writes about the research here.

WRC team wins the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association’s 2016 Bruce Gardner Memorial Prize for Applied Policy Analysis

The State of Washington Water Research Center team led by WRC Director Jonathan Yoder won the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association’s  Bruce Gardner Memorial Prize for Applied Policy Analysis of 2016 for their report Benefit-Cost Analysis of the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan Projectsand related outreach efforts (  The award was presented at the AAEA Annual Meetings on August 1 in Boston, MA.

The Bruce Gardner Memorial Prize for Applied Policy Analysis Award recognizes outstanding impact on agricultural and related policy, based on sound foundations in economic theory. The purpose of the Award is to encourage sound economic analysis of public policy issues that provides timely and relevant information for more effective public policy and program discussions relating to national or internationally relevant policy issues. The award is intended to focus attention on important efforts in research, education or public service, which facilitate the policy process and improve public performance and understanding. A maximum of one award is given annually. For more information, see–awards/bruce-gardner-memorial-prize-for-applied-policy-analysis