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The economic value of the Christina Basin approaches $270 million per year with net present benefits up to $5.4 billion over 30 years.  Significant investments are needed protect this invaluable resource.

Benefit Present Value
($ million/yr)
Net Present Value
($ million)
Drinking Water Supply 36.1 744.0
Warm Water Fishery 6.2 127.3
Recreation (Boating) 6.6 135.3
Ecotourism (kayaking) 0.8 16.5
Trout Fishing 4.3 88.9
Motor Boating 10.5 217.1
Wetlands 10.0 to 38.1 206.9 to 784.9
Forest 159.7 3,290.1
Total 224.2 to 262.3 4,619.2 to 5,404.0

Obtain dedicated annual financing to fund watershed-restoration projects. Dedicated financing is needed to replace the grant-to-grant approach that has worked reasonably well over the past 15 years but will not get us to the finish line in six years. The funds would be collected in a Christina Basin Fund and distributed to parties such as the CCCD, BVA, Brandywine Conservancy, Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, Delaware Nature Society, DNREC, PADEP, and others who work to get projects off the ground.  The annual goal could be $1,000,000, or it could be more or less.  All of these funding options have large regulatory, political, and/or logistical concerns, as Delaware has a county-based form of government different from the Pennsylvania municipality-based local government structure.  The MS4 stormwater-permit program is municipality-based, and TMDLs are watershed-based.  Types of innovative watershed-financing options include:

  • Water-rate surcharge – Assuming $5/customer/year for 200,000 customers in the Christina Basin could raise $1 million annually for source-water protection.
  • Water allocation fees – Assuming $0.03/1000 gal. to be included in DRBC dockets and by states would raise $1.1 million annually if water purveyors provide 100 mgd in Christina Basin.
  • Stormwater utilities – Wilmington is the first municipality in Delaware to adopt one and New Castle County, Del., is considering a stormwater utility.
  • Wastewater discharge fee – small surcharge imposed as portion of the permit to be placed in the Christina Basin Fund.
  • Pennsylvania Water and Sewer Systems Assistance Act ($400 million bond) – voters were to have considered on Nov 4, 2008.
  • Penalties for violation of the Clean Water Act.
  • Local corporations, foundations, and stakeholders.
  • Local government–pooled fund – Local governments would contribute their percentage (a few thousand per year) annually to the Christina Basin Fund, and the CBCWP would implement the restoration projects as a way to meet their MS4 permit obligations.  Townships and cities in Delaware and Pennsylvania would contribute into the Christina Basin Fund based on a combination of the following formulas:


    • Percent of MS4 separate storm-sewer area
    • Percent of sediment TMDL allocation
    • Percent of phosphorus TMDL allocation
    • Percent of nitrogen TMDL allocation
    • Percent of urban/suburban land
    • Percent of agricultural land
    • Percent of urban plus agricultural land

For instance, the following table compares the possible contributions from governments in the Red Clay Creek watershed based on the various formulae.

Funding Contribution as % of Red Clay Creek Watershed

Municipality MS4 Separate
Sediment Allocation Nitrogen
Percent Urban + Agriculture
Pennsbury Twp 0.9%    1.3% 0.6% 1.4% 0.6%   1.0%
Kennett Square Boro 2.0% 4.0% 2.3% 1.2% 4.1% 1.3% 2.6%
New Garden Twp 10.5% 21.1% 12.4% 17.1% 5.4% 18.4% 12.2%
East Marlborough Twp 20.8% 41.8% 22.1% 8.2% 13.1% 34.7% 24.5%
Kennett Twp 26.0% 33.0% 31.9% 21.8% 22.4% 28.9% 25.8%
New Castle Co, Del. 39.8%   30.0% 50.0% 53.5% 16.2% 33.9%