13 Multi-Benefit Resources


Achieving Resilience through Water Recycling in Peri-Urban Agriculture

Author: Attwater & Derry, (2017)
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Achieving Resilience through Water Recycling in Peri-Urban Agriculture examines water recycling for agricultural use in the peri-urban regions of Western Sydney, Australia. The study provides a qualitative assessment of the benefits associated with agricultural water reuse of treated wastewater and drinking water in the context of the communities larger water system. The benefits identified include enhanced landscape ecology, environmental risk management, water supply reliability, agricultural products and services, reduced wastewater discharges to receiving waters, provision of ecosystem services, community livelihood, social values, and overall enhanced resilience.

Sustaining California Agriculture in an Uncertain Future

Author: Cooley, Christian-Smith, & Gleick, Pacific Institute (2009)
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Sustaining California Agriculture in an Uncertain Future examines the potential for agricultural efficiency in California. The report qualitatively and quantitatively explores the potential for water conservation and efficiency under the following management strategies: 1) efficient irrigation technology, 2) improved irrigation scheduling, and 3) regulated deficit irrigation. All three options show significant water savings as well as provide various co-benefits including, reduced water and energy costs, improved crop quality and yield,improved soil health, reduced vulnerability to drought, increased revenues, improved water quality, improved quantity and timing of instream flows, and fish and wildlife benefits.

Developing Scenarios to Assess Ecosystem Service Tradeoffs: Guidance and Case Studies for InVEST Users

Author: McKenzie et al., The Natural Capital Project (2012)
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Developing Scenarios to Assess Ecosystem Service Tradeoffs: Guidance and Case Studies for InVEST Users provides an evaluation of six case studies from across the globe that utilized inVEST to inform policy decisions. InVEST is a software tool for assessing how the location, quantity, and value of ecosystem services change under different scenarios. The tool was developed by the Natural Capital Project, a coalition that works to develop practical ecosystem services concepts and tools, apply these tools around the world to demonstrate the impact of ecosystem service approaches in decisions, and engage thought leaders to advance change in policy and practice. The report includes a discussion on the methodologies used as well as the strengths and challenges that arose with each application of InVEST.

Envision Project Awards Map

Author: Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (N/A)
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Envision Project Awards map contains interactive case studies of projects from across the globe that have received Envision awards for sustainability. Envision is a comprehensive framework of 60 criteria that encompass the full range of environmental, social, and economic impacts and are used to assess project sustainability. These 60 sustainability criteria, called ‘credits’, are arranged in five categories: Quality of Life, Leadership, Resource Allocation, Natural World, and Climate and Risk.

Leveraging Sustainable Irrigated Agriculture via Desalination: Evidence from a Macro-Data Case Study in Israel

Author: Raveh & Ben-Gal, (2018)
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Leveraging Sustainable Irrigated Agriculture via Desalination: Evidence from a Macro-Data Case Study in Israel examines the effects of desalinated water on agricultural crops in Israel. The study presents data on salt levels in different agricultural crops before and after watering with desalination plant water. The results showed measurable and significant decreases in sodium (Na), chloride (Cl), and magnesium (Mg) compared to when the crops were watered using irrigation. This reduction of salts in the crops provides a benefit because the high levels of salts in irrigated water sources was causing crop health issues.

Reducing Stormwater Costs through Low Impact Development (LID) Strategies and Practices

Author: U.S. EPA (2007)
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Reducing Stormwater Costs through Low Impact Development (LID) Strategies and Practices analyzes 17 case studies of low impact development (LID) projects throughout the United States. The low impact development projects referenced include conservation designs, infiltration practices, runoff storage, runoff conveyance, filtration, and low impact landscaping. The benefits considered within the analysis include environmental benefits (i.e., pollution abatement, protection of downstream water resources, groundwater recharge, water quality improvements, reduced incidence of combined sewer overflows (CSO), habitat improvement), land value and quality of life benefits (i.e., reduced risk of downstream flooding and property damage, increased real estate values, lot yield, improved aesthetics, enhanced public space), and compliance benefits (i.e., regulatory compliance). The analysis also includes a cost comparison of low impact development projects to traditional grey infrastructure projects. The report concludes that low impact development projects significantly reduce costs and improve environmental performance.

Agricultural Water Conservation and Efficiency Potential in California

Author: NRDC, Pacific Institute (2014)
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Agricultural Water Conservation and Efficiency Potential in California outlines the benefits of improving agricultural efficiency in California. The benefits cited include reduced consumptive use, improved water quality and instream flow, energy savings, increased yields, improved crop quality, reduced fertilizer, water, and energy costs, improved reliability of existing supplies, management flexibility, improved downstream water quality, and enhanced recreation.

Envision Framework

Author: Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (N/A)
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Envision is a framework that provides the guidance needed to initiate this systemic change in the planning, design and delivery of sustainable and resilient infrastructure. Envision is a decision-making guide, not a set of prescriptive measures. Envision provides industry-wide sustainability metrics for all types and sizes of infrastructure to help users assess and measure the extent to which their project contributes to conditions of sustainability across the full range of social, economic, and environmental indicators.

Envision V3 User Manual

Author: Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (2017)
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The Envision V3 (Draft Credits for Public Review and Comment) user manual outlines additions to the Envision framework, a sustainability framework that aims to analyze infrastructure projects and promote collaboration on multi-benefit projects in order to improve system synergy. The framework defines co-benefits as services not directly related to the project’s primary function, and identifies five benefit categories: 1) quality of life, 2) leadership, 3) resource allocation, 4) natural world, and 5) climate and risk. Envision V3, launched in late 2017, modifies the final category, instead calling it ‘risk and resilience’.

Environmental Farming Act Science Advisory Panel Bi-Annual Report (2011-2013)

Author: Gunasekara, California Department of Food and Agriculture (2013)
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Environmental Farming Act Science Advisory Panel – Bi-Annual Report (2011-2013) is a resource developed by the Environmental Farming Act Science Advisory Panel and organized by Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). The advisory panel aims to review the impact of agriculture on the environment and encourage agricultural practices with environmental benefits by providing incentives and modifying environmental regulations. The environmental benefit categories established by the advisory panel include: wildlife habitats; nutrient cycling; food, fiber, and fuel production; recreation and cultural; soil structure, formation, and fertility; biodiversity conservation; water cycling; atmospheric gas/climate regulation; pest control; pollination services; and water quality.

Systemic solutions for multi-benefit water and environmental management

Author: Everard & McInnes, (2013)
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Systemic solutions for multi-benefit water and environmental management provides an academic, theoretical critique on the evaluation of multi-benefit systems. The report comprises case studies of successful green infrastructure projects, including constructed wetlands, urban ecosystem technologies, agricultural washlands, and integrated constructed wetlands.

Beyond the Source: The environmental, economic and community benefits of source water protection

Author: Abell et al., The Nature Conservancy (2017)
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Beyond the Source is an in-depth, global study conducted by the Nature Conservancy on source water protection projects. In the report these projects are described as “nature-based solutions” that can improve water quality and quantity. Projects include targeted land protection, revegetation, riparian restoration, agricultural best management practices, ranching best management practices, fire risk management, wetland restoration and creation, and road management. The report provides a qualitative framework as well as quantitative guidance for calculating the multiple benefits.

Central Valley Flood Protection Plan 2017 Update

Author: California Department of Water Resources (2017)
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The Central Valley Flood Protection Plan asserts that institutional frameworks hinder implementation of multi-benefit actions and outlines a framework to facilitate design and construction of multi-benefit projects. The report organizes Design Within Reach (DWR) Flood Management programs with the flood management policy issues they address, as well as discusses multi-benefit improvements for ecosystem vitality for specific projects. It includes a qualitative discussion of multi-benefit projects, defining them as projects designed to reduce flood risk and enhance fish and wildlife habitat, as well as create additional public benefits such as sustaining agricultural production, improving water quality and water supply reliability, increasing groundwater recharge, supporting commercial fisheries, and providing public recreation and educational opportunities, or any combination thereof.