In a recent survey by the University of Illinois with data from 131 randomly selected Champaign–Urbana households, researchers found that people are willing to pay not only for infrastructure that reduces basement flooding but also for improvements to local water quality. Previous research has documented the willingness to pay for improvements that reduce flooding. However, innovative stormwater management techniques can provide a host of additional benefits. According to the university, this is the first research examining the willingness to pay for these ancillary benefits.

Survey participants ranged from households with significant flooding problems to those with no flooding at all. Those with flooding were willing to pay more for stormwater infrastructure. However, even households with no flooding valued water quality improvements. This shows that management strategies, like green infrastructure, that provide multiple benefits may be welcomed by the community at large while stormwater managers should be wary of infrastructure that reduces flooding at the expense of water quality. This information can help planners prioritize strategies and assess the benefits of implementing green infrastructure in the context of expanding regulations and increasing water challenges. While no community will rely entirely on green infrastructure, the key is to determine the right mixture of solutions. Read more.