Colorado Law Review
University of Colorado
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Boulder, Co, USA
Watershed scientists frequently describe urbanization as a primary cause of water quality degradation, and recent studies conclude that even in lightly-developed watersheds, urbanization often precludes attainment of water quality standards. This article considers legal responses to this pervasive problem. It explains why traditional legal measures have been ineffective, and it evaluates several recent innovations piloted in the northeastern United States and potentially applicable across the nation. Specifically, the innovations involve using impervious cover TMDLs, residual designation authority, and collective permitting. More generally, the innovations involve transferring regulatory focus from end-of-the-pipe to landscape-based controls. I conclude that the innovations, while raising some new problems, represent a promising shift, and it discuss additional reforms and research needed to better reconcile legal water quality standards and traditional land development patterns.
Owen, Dave, Urbanization, Water Quality, and the Regulated Landscape (April 2011). University of Colorado Law Review, Vol. 82, No. 2, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1563467 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1563467
post-print (i.e. final draft post-refereeing with all author corrections and edits)