The Revenueshed User Guide is a tool for educators, civic leaders, land trusts, and other stakeholders in watershed protection to introduce the revenueshed concept to their communities.
What is a revenueshed?
We define a revenueshed as the geographic area within which revenue is generated for a specific purpose. Here, a revenueshed describes the area within which revenue is generated for watershed protection. What are the advantages of the revenueshed analysis framework? Jurisdictional boundaries were developed to meet social, economic, and/or political needs. Historically, they have not been designed to meet watershed needs. As a result, jurisdictional boundaries (sources of revenue for watershed protection) often do not match watershed boundaries. This leads to:
Multiple jurisdictions being responsible for financing watershed protection in a single watershed. The result is often a free-rider problem whereby all jurisdictions want the benefit of clean water but nobody wants to pay for it. Pooling revenue from these communities for efforts that exceed their jurisdictional boundaries is difficult. The consequence is that water quality is not directly addressed until it approaches a crisis point where action is necessary.
Single jurisdictions become responsible for watershed protection in multiple watersheds. The chief question facing communities is: since water quality and quantity are affected by decisions made upstream, who is responsible for ensuring the quality and quantity of water available for downstream users? The upstream impacting jurisdictions, the downstream benefitting jurisdictions, or both? And, from what revenue streams should jurisdiction draw to fund watershed protection efforts.
A revenueshed conceptual model provides a basis for generating discussion amongst watershed actors, interactive decision making, and modeling financing options.