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Effects of forest cover on drinking water treatment costs

Posted date: November 17, 2016
Publication Year: 
2016
Authors: Warziniack, Travis; Sham, Chi Ho; Morgan, Robert; Feferholtz, Yasha
Publication Series: 
Miscellaneous
Source: American Water Works Association. 51 p.

Abstract

This paper explores the relationship between forest cover and drinking water treatment costs using results from a 2014 survey by the American Water Works Association (AWWA) that targeted utilities in forested ecoregions in the United States. On the basis of the data collected, there is a negative relationship between forest cover and turbidity, i.e. as forest cover increased, turbidity decreased. However, the relationship between land use and total organic carbon (TOC) is not statistically significant. Within the bounds of the collected data, a conversion of 1% of a watershed from forested to developed land is associated with an increase in turbidity by 3.9%. Because water treatment needs are impacted by both TOC and turbidity, increase in either parameter will result in an increase in chemical costs. The lack of a strong relationship between land use and TOC has weakened the influence of land use change on water treatment cost.

Citation

Warziniack, Travis; Sham, Chi Ho; Morgan, Robert; Feferholtz, Yasha. 2016. Effects of forest cover on drinking water treatment costs. American Water Works Association. 51 p.