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For years many people have known we should protect the quality of our water because it is good for the environment. Recent studies, however, show that there is an economic value as well.
A study conducted by students at the University of Maine determined that a decline in water quality can drop shorefront property values by 5 to 10 percent.
"This is a real threat. People think of their lake homes as a nice place to retire or to give to their kids," says biologist Roy Bouchard, Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Lake Assessment Section. "But we now have data that proves that the value of property is compromised if water quality goes down."
The environment is economically valuable in many ways. Every acre of lake produces a $2 to $5,000 investment on the local economy according to the University of Maine study. Lakes that are in good health generate lots of jobs. The quality of a lake's water can induce people to visit - or keep them away.
The most recent study conducted at the University of Maine by Kevin Boyle, Ph.D., and graduate student Jennifer Sheutz indicates that 30% of Maine's residents use the state's lakes. "This shows that good water quality is a valuable commodity, making hundreds of dollars for the watershed," says Bouchard. "The quality-of-life value people get from going to the lake is worth hundreds more than what they spend. And value is directly linked to water quality."
(from the Sebago Lake Watershed News)