“Narragansett Bay is New England’s largest estuary with an area of about 385 square kilometers. Pollution led to algal blooms and a lack of dissolved oxygen in the bay – both of which harm fish and aquatic plants. In 2003, a fish kill resulted in the death of more than 1 million fish. Water quality improved after Rhode Island passed a law requiring major wastewater treatment plants to reduce the amount of nitrogen they were putting into the water by 50 percent of 1995 levels. In some parts of the bay, the oxygen available to marine life had returned to normal levels by 2014. Higher chlorophyll concentration means the water may contain elevated levels of nitrogen and other nutrients.  A one-unit decline in chlorophyll concentration leads to a 0.1 percent increase in value for homes in the 100 meters (109 yards) closest to the water – or $200 for a house worth $200,000. Decreasing chlorophyll levels in the water by 25 percent would result in a 0.24 percent or $45.5 million increase in the aggregate value of homes within 1,500 meters (1,640 yards) of the water within one year.” Let us assume that the inverse is also true. Let’s make sure that governments understand the value of water monitoring to protect the capital assets of taxpayers.

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