The Economic Challenge for Addressing TCP Groundwater Contamination

In 2017, California’s State Water Resources Control Board adopted a drinking water standard for the regulation of 1,2,3-Trichloropropane (TCP) at a maximum contaminant level of 5 parts per trillion. In a January 2021 presentation at a webinar sponsored by the American Ground Water Trust, Hydrowonk argued that addressing TCP groundwater contamination will cost at least $4 billion. Many of the challenges occur in Economically Disadvantage Communities that lack institutional capacity to develop, fund and operate projects.

While technical assistance and funding from the State Board would be helpful, addressing the disparate and decentralized circumstances on the ground may require a program based on developing a menu of proposed projects in consultation with local stakeholders and the private sector. The presentation outlines principles for development of such a program based on competitive solicitations for private sector design, build, finance and operation of projects. Following decades of experience with combinatorial auctions, a State Board program can harness initiatives from the private sector to develop and operate the combination of projects that address TCP Groundwater Contamination at the least cost to taxpayers.

View Hydrowonk’s presentation 

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About Rodney T. Smith

Rodney T. Smith, Ph.D., President of Stratecon Inc.—an economics and strategic planning consulting firm—advises public and private sector water users on the acquisition, sale and leasing of water rights and water supplies in the western U.S. He is routinely involved in economic valuation of water rights, water investments, and negotiation of water acquisition and transportation agreements and has served as an expert witness in the economic valuation of groundwater resources, disputes over the economic interpretation of water contracts, economics of water conservation and water use practices, and the socio-economic impacts of land fallowing. For more information, see