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Gerald Kauffman - University of Delaware. Newark, DE, US

Gerald Kauffman

Project Director, Water Resources Center, Institute for Public Administration; Assistant Professor, Biden School of Public Policy and Administration | University of Delaware


Prof. Kauffman focuses on drinking water: water supply, water quality, policy, handling droughts and floods.





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Gerald Kauffman is an associate professor of public policy and administration and the director of the Delaware Water Resources Center. His work focuses on drinking water: water supply, water quality, policy, handling droughts and floods. Kauffman is skilled in watershed planning and management.

Industry Expertise (1)

Public Policy

Areas of Expertise (6)

Public Policy

Water Policy

Water Supply

Water Quality

Watershed Planning


Media Appearances (7)

Ida flooding wreaked havoc 2 years ago. This preparedness event aims to prevent its repeat



Kauffman, director of UD's Water Resources Center, spoke about Hurricane Ida's impact on the Brandywine Creek, which saw its worst flooding in 200 years.

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New study to determine causes of flooding along Brandywine Creek

WHYY  radio


"It’s going to take some patience, and years of investment to really remove people from the floodplain and get their lives back to normal," said Kauffman.

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Delaware River Basin has enough groundwater to last decades

WHYY  online


“In certain areas of the basin, specifically in southern Delaware, South Jersey, it’s the sole source of drinking water. So it’s very important to protect,” said Gerald Kauffman, director of the University of Delaware Water Resources Center.

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State and federal PFAS measures promise stronger protection from ‘forever chemicals’

Delaware Public Media  online


Dr. Jerry Kauffman, director of the University of Delaware’s Water Resources Center, said the number of actual PFAS sites in Delaware is likely to be less than the total listed in the PEER report but that should not stop state and federal authorities setting tough limits in line with those adopted by New Jersey and some other states.

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How Delaware could use its $50 million PFAS settlement

Delaware Public Media  online


Gerald Kauffman, director of the University of Delaware’s Water Resources Center, says the money should be spent primarily in the communities in all three counties that have been most affected by the chemicals.

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The Delaware Way could be the national key to tackling climate change | Opinion

The News Journal  online


April is Earth Month and from the State House to the White House, it’s good to see robust action on water, climate and infrastructure.

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As volunteers pick up trash, Christina River continues to suffer from agricultural runoff

Delaware Public Media  online


Gerald Kauffman, director of the University of Delaware’s Water Resources Center, says water quality in the Christina River and White Clay Creek has improved over the past few decades, but still has a ways to go.

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Articles (5)

Benefit-cost analysis of water quality policy and criteria in the Delaware River

Water Policy

2020 This research conducts a benefit-cost analysis of water policies to reach an optimal level of dissolved oxygen (DO) to meet year-round fishable water quality criteria in the Delaware River. A watershed pollutant load model is utilized to estimate marginal cost curves of water quality improvements to meet a more protective year-round fishable standard and annual benefits are defined to achieve future DO criteria in the Delaware River. The most cost-effective DO standard is 4.5 mg/L defined by the point where the marginal benefits of willingness to pay (WTP) for improved water quality equals the marginal costs of pollution reduction. This optimal criteria (4.5 mg/L) can be achieved at a cost of $150 million with benefits ranging from $250 to $700 million/year. While a future DO standard of 4.5 mg/L reflects an economically efficient level of water quality, this DO criteria is less protective than the level of 5–6 mg/L needed to protect anadromous fish such as the Atlantic sturgeon. The policy to reach a DO level of 6 mg/L (at 80% DO saturation) may be difficult to achieve at summer water temperatures that approach 30 °C in the Delaware River at Philadelphia.

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Economic benefits of improved water quality in the Delaware River (USA)

River Research and Applications

2019 Water quality in the Delaware River, USA, has improved significantly since the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (1948), Clean Water Act of 1972, and authorization of the Delaware River Basin Commission Compact in 1961. Initial economic analysis by the Federal Water Pollution Administration in 1966 concluded the multimillion dollar pollution abatement programme would generate $350 million in annual benefits by improving dissolved oxygen levels to fishable standards in the Delaware River. Although water quality in the Delaware has improved substantially, scientists have called for raising the 1960s dissolved oxygen criteria from 3.5 mg/L to 5.0 mg/L to ensure year-round propagation of anadromous American shad and Atlantic sturgeon. This higher level would also mitigate atmospheric warming resulting in increased water temperatures and sea water incursion, both of which would lead to reductions in dissolved oxygen saturation in the river. Additional economic valuation of this water quality improvement shows direct use benefits in the Delaware River to range from $371 million to $1.1 billion per year. Other economic sectors benefiting from improved water quality include recreational boating ($46–$334 million), recreational fishing ($129–$202 million), agriculture ($8–$188 million), nonuse value ($76–$115 million), viewing/boating/fishing ($55–$68 million), bird watching ($15–$33 million), property value ($13–27 million), water supply ($12–$24 million), commercial fishing (up to $17 million), and navigation ($7–$16 million). Future economic research is needed in the Delaware River watershed to more precisely measure nonuse benefits by public willingness to pay for improved water quality.

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Economic Value of the Maryland Coastal Bays Watershed

Water Resources Center

2018 The water, natural resources, and ecosystems in the Maryland Coastal Bays watershed contribute an economic value of $1 to $3 billion annually to the regional Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia economy. This report examines that economic value in three different ways: 1. Economic value directly related to the Maryland Coastal Bays watershed water resources and habitats. The Maryland Coastal Bays watershed contributes over $1.2 billion in annual economic activity from water quality, water supply, fish/wildlife, recreation, agriculture, forests, and public parks benefits. By state, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia contribute $200 million, $700 million, and $300 million, respectively, to the Coastal Bays watershed annual economy. 2. Value of goods and services provided by the Maryland Coastal Bays watershed ecosystems. Using natural capital as a measure of value, habitats in the Maryland Coastal Bays watershed provide $3 billion annually in ecosystem goods and services in 2017 dollars, with a net present value (NPV) of $97 billion calculated over a 100-year period. By state, the ecosystem services value of the watershed is $248 million in Sussex County, Delaware; $1.9 billion in Worcester County, Maryland; and $807 million in Accomack County, Virginia. 3. Employment related to the Maryland Coastal Bays watershed resources and habitats. Using employment as a measure of value, natural resources within the Maryland Coastal Bays watershed directly and indirectly supports over 50,000 jobs with over $1.5 billion in annual wages. The purpose of these estimates is to demonstrate that the Maryland Coastal Bays watershed provides real …

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The cost of clean water in the Delaware River Basin (USA)


2018 The Delaware River has made a marked recovery in the half-century since the adoption of the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) Compact in 1961 and passage of the Federal Clean Water Act amendments during the 1970s. During the 1960s, the DRBC set a 3.5 mg/L dissolved oxygen criterion for the river based on an economic analysis that concluded that a waste load abatement program designed to meet fishable water quality goals would generate significant recreational and environmental benefits. Scientists with the Delaware Estuary Program have recently called for raising the 1960s dissolved oxygen criterion along the Delaware River from 3.5 mg/L to 5.0 mg/L to protect anadromous American shad and Atlantic sturgeon, and address the prospect of rising temperatures, sea levels, and salinity in the estuary. This research concludes, through a nitrogen marginal abatement cost (MAC) analysis, that it would be cost-effective to raise dissolved oxygen levels to meet a more stringent standard by prioritizing agricultural conservation and some wastewater treatment investments in the Delaware River watershed to remove 90% of the nitrogen load by 13.6 million kg N/year (30 million lb N/year) for just 35% ($160 million) of the $449 million total cost. The annual least cost to reduce nitrogen loads and raise dissolved oxygen levels to meet more stringent water quality standards in the Delaware River totals $45 million for atmospheric NOX reduction, $130 million for wastewater treatment, $132 million for agriculture conservation, and $141 million for urban stormwater retrofitting. This 21st century least cost analysis estimates that an annual …

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Economic value of nature and ecosystems in the Delaware River Basin

Journal of Contemporary Water Research & Education

2016 The Delaware River basin is a valuable ecological and economic resource that supplies drinking water to five percent of the population of the United States. Located in Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, the basin supplies drinking water to the nation's first (New York City) and seventh (Philadelphia) largest metropolitan economies, and supports the largest freshwater port in the world while sustaining a recovering anadromous shad and striped bass fishery. The Delaware basin contributes over $22 billion in annual economic activity from potential Marcellus Shale gas extraction ($425 million), recreation ($1.2 billion), fish/wildlife ($1.5 billion), public parks ($1.8 billion), water quality ($2.5 billion), navigation ($2.6 billion), agriculture ($3.4 billion), water supply ($3.8 billion), and forest ($5.1 billion) benefits. The value of natural goods and services from Delaware basin ecosystems is $21 billion ($2010) with net present value of $683 billion with contributions from Delaware ($2.5 billion), New Jersey ($6.6 billion), New York ($3.5 billion), and Pennsylvania ($8.6 billion). The Delaware basin supports 600,000 direct/indirect jobs with $10 billion in wages in the coastal, farm, ecotourism, water/wastewater, ports, and recreation industries. This research demonstrates that the Delaware River basin provides significant economic benefits to the region and is worthy of priority investments by elected officials and decision-makers to protect and restore these natural resources.

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Accomplishments (2)

Conservationist of the Year Award, Delaware Nature Society. (professional)


Samuel L. Baxter Memorial Award, Water Resources Association (professional)


Education (3)

University of Delaware: PhD, College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment 2014

University of Delaware: MPA, Water Policy 2003

Rutgers University: BS, Civil and Environmental Engineering 1981

Affiliations (4)

  • American Geophysical Union (AGU)
  • American Water Resources Association (AWRA)
  • National Institutes for Water Resources (NIWR)
  • Universities Council on Water Resources (UCOWR)

Event Appearances (5)

Brandywine Shad 2020

(2020) Upstream Alliance Seminar  Philadelphia, PA

Brandywine Christina State of the Watershed

(2020) Brandywine Christina Task Force  West Chester, PA

Brandywine and the Piedmont: Restoration and Revival of America’s Most Historic Small Watershed.

(2019) Universities Council on Water Resources (UCOWR)/National Institutes for Water Resources (NIWR) Annual Water Resources Conference  Snowbird, UT

Water Quality Trends in the Brandywine Christina Cluster along the Arc Boundary of Delaware

(2018) Delaware Watershed Research Conference, Academy of Natural Sciences  Philadelphia, PA

Waters of the United States (WOTUS) and Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS)

(2018) University of Delaware School of Public Policy & Administration (SPPA) Research Seminar  Newark, DE