Principal Investigators: Mark Buntaine, Zhang Bing
Country: China

Registration: 20170914AA

Dates of Intervention: August 2017 - August 2018

Background: The major challenge of improving water quality in small urban waterways in China, like many other places in the world, is that they are currently managed as an open-access resource. There is neither monitoring of degradation of this collective resource, nor are there strong social or legal rules to prevent nonpoint source pollution of this resource. Because of the nonpoint nature of pollution in urban waterways and the lower priority they have received in government plans, the recovery of waterways might be boosted by (1) creating credible citizen monitoring of their quality; and (2) revealing public demand for remedial actions to improve quality to government. Since 2013, the Jiangsu Provincial government has planned to clean-up urban waterways. Social monitoring by citizens may help overcome information problems that result in open-access resource depletion and reveal citizen demand to speed progress toward goals.

Research Design: Our proposed study involves the monitoring of urban waterways by volunteer citizens, who will be organized to take weekly measurements of water quality. We work with a partner, the Mochou Ecological Environmental Protection Association, to disseminate the results of citizen water quality monitoring to the public, to local government offices, or both as experimental conditions. We measure whether the dissemination of citizen monitoring information results in improved water quality during the study period.

Hypotheses:
  • H1: Community monitoring will result in improved water quality.
  • H2: Community monitoring will reduce littering and dumping near waterways.
  • H3: Community monitoring will increase property values within 500m of the sample waterways.
  • H4: Community monitoring will increase non-market values of living near the sample waterways.