Rising populations and increased development in New Hampshire coastal communities have led to a decline in water quality in the Great Bay Estuary. Responding effectively and affordably to new federal permit requirements for treating and discharging stormwater and wastewater will require innovative solutions from communities in the area. The Water Integration for Squamscott-Exeter (WISE) project developed an integrated planning framework through which the coastal communities of Exeter, Stratham, and Newfields could significantly reduce the cost of meeting permit requirements. In this brief, authors Alison Watts, Robert Roseen, Paul Stacey, Renee Bourdeau, and Theresa Walker report that integrated planning could save these communities over $100 million (in fifty-year lifecycle costs) by prioritizing high-impact, low-cost mitigation strategies across permit type and town boundaries. The project, which has received an Environmental Merit award from Environment Protection Agency, also found that attainment of water quality standards in the Exeter–Squamscott River will not be possible without substantial cooperation and investment from upstream communities, which are not currently subject to EPA permit requirements. Collaboration among communities in planning and implementing projects to meet clean water regulations can have significant cost and effectiveness benefits.

Publication Date

Spring 4-26-2016


Regional Issue Brief No.47


Durham, N.H. : Carsey School of Public Policy, University of New Hampshire

Document Type



Copyright 2016. Carsey School of Public Policy. These materials may be used for the purposes of research, teaching, and private study. For all other uses, contact the copyright holder.





To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.