Butler University’s Center for Urban Ecology (CUE) will share in a $60,000 federal grant received by Indianapolis’ Office of Sustainability to improve water quality and community revitalization in the Mapleton-Fall Creek neighborhood.
The CUE’s share of the grant — $30,000 — will be spent to develop a “water currency” program to encourages behavior that improves neighborhood water quality.
For example, by installing a rain barrel, a resident would receive “water credit,” which can be exchanged for goods and services at participating local businesses.
“This is a great opportunity to both engage with the community and improve local water quality in a way that hasn’t been done before,” said Tim Carter, director of the Center for Urban Ecology. “We think it’s a creative way to produce beneficial behavior change in the neighborhood that serves both the environment and the residents.”
The CUE will be working with New York-based Mary Miss Studio to design the currency.
The grant money comes from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Urban Waters Small Grant Program. Indianapolis is one of 46 applicants in 32 states out of nearly 600 that applied for this program that will receive this funding.
The Urban Waters program funding supports communities’ efforts to access, improve, and benefit from their urban waters and the surrounding land. Urban waters include canals, rivers, lakes, wetlands, aquifers, estuaries, bays, and oceans in urbanized areas. The grants awarded by the EPA recently ranged from $30,000 to $60,000 for projects across the country, including a number of underserved communities totaling $2.7 million.