WIT Press

Point To Non-point Phosphorus Trading In The South Nation River Watershed


Free (open access)





Page Range

189 - 195




255 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


D. O’Grady


The South Nation River watershed has a regulated water quality trading program. By law, waste water dischargers must discharge 0 kg of phosphorus (P) loadings into receiving waters. New wastewater systems are now choosing trading instead of traditional P removal technology. These point source dischargers are buying P credits from rural landowners, primarily farmers. These credits are generated by constructing non-point source pollution control measures, and calculating the kg of P removed by each measure. South Nation Conservation, a community based watershed organization, is the broker for these P credits. The program is run by a multi-stakeholder committee, and all project field visits are done by farmers and not paid professionals. Keywords: water quality trading, phosphorus trading, water credit trading, watershed trading. 1 Introduction South Nation Conservation (SNC) is a community based watershed organization set up to manage the natural resources of the South Nation River watershed. Over the last several years, SNC paid over $1 million in grants to rural landowners for various non-point source pollution control projects. The South Nation River watershed is located southeast of Ottawa, Ontario Canada. The 4,000 sq. km. watershed has a population of 125,000, and is mixed farming with dairy, cash crop corn and soybeans predominant. The South Nation River has peak flows of over 1,000 cu. m./s. in the spring freshet, and less than 20 cu. m./s. during summer low flows. There are currently 16 wastewater lagoons in the watershed (14 municipal, 2 industrial). Provincial guidelines allow the lagoons to discharge their effluent at peak flows, primarily in the spring, for dilution of effluent to meet Provincial water quality guidelines.


water quality trading, phosphorus trading, water credit trading, watershed trading.