January 18, 2018

Socioeconomic Value of the Delaware River Basin

In Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania
By Gerald Kauffman, University of Delaware

See the Delaware River Basin Commission Website for Additional Information

From the Executive Summary

What do the Guggenheim Museum, New York Yankees, Boeing, Sunoco, Campbell’s Soup, DuPont, Wawa, Starbucks, Iron Hill Brewery, Philadelphia Phillies, Camelback Ski Area, Pt. Pleasant Canoe Livery, Salem Nuclear Power Plant, and United States Navy all have in common? They all depend on the waters of the Delaware River Basin to sustain their businesses.

The Delaware River Basin is an economic engine that supplies drinking water to the 1st (New York City) and 7th (Philadelphia) largest metropolitan economies in the United States and supports the largest freshwater port in the world. The Delaware Basin’s water supplies, natural resources, and ecosystems in Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and a small sliver of Maryland:

  • Contribute $25 billion in annual economic activity from recreation, water quality, water supply, hunting/fishing, ecotourism, forest, agriculture, open space, potential Marcellus Shale natural gas, and port benefits.
  • Provide ecosystem goods and services (natural capital) of $21 billion per year in 2010 dollars with net present value (NPV) of $683 billion discounted over 100 years.
  • Are directly/indirectly responsible for 600,000 jobs with $10 billion in annual wages.

Download the Executive Summary as a pdf
Download the full Report on “The Economic Engine of the Delaware Valley” as a pdf

Does it make sense to risk the drinking water of New York City, Philadelphia and other municipalities, ecosystem goods and services worth $21 billion per year, thousands of jobs in coastal, farm, ecotourism, and recreation industries, the value of homes and properties, and the health of the people of DE, NJ, NY and PA, for a few years of natural gas production that will profit a small number of companies and individuals?