A game theory analysis of green infrastructure stormwater management policies

Reshmina William, Jugal Garg, Ashlynn S. Stillwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Green stormwater infrastructure has been demonstrated as an innovative water resources management approach that addresses multiple challenges facing urban environments. However, there is little consensus on what policy strategies can be used to best incentivize green infrastructure adoption by private landowners. Game theory, an analysis framework that has historically been under-utilized within the context of stormwater management, is uniquely suited to address this policy question. We used a cooperative game theory framework to investigate the potential impacts of different policy strategies used to incentivize green infrastructure installation. The results indicate that municipal regulation leads to the greatest reduction in pollutant loading. However, the choice of the “best” regulatory approach will depend on a variety of different factors including politics and financial considerations. Large, downstream agents have a disproportionate share of bargaining power. Results also reveal that policy impacts are highly dependent on agents' spatial position within the stormwater network, leading to important questions of social equity and environmental justice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8003-8019
Number of pages17
JournalWater Resources Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2017


  • environmental equity
  • game theory
  • green infrastructure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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