24 Multi-Benefit Resources


Estimating the costs and health benefits of water and sanitation improvements at global level

Author: Haller et al., (2007)
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Estimating the costs and health benefits of water and sanitation improvements at global level compares the cost of improving water supply and sanitation to the benefit of averting disease burden. The authors find improving sanitation has positive benefits up to $13,000 per disease year prevented, and the most cost effective intervention is household water treatment.

Opportunities for natural infrastructure to improve urban water security in Latin America

Author: Tellman et al., (2018)
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Opportunities for natural infrastructure to improve urban water security in Latin America offers a continent-scale analysis of ecosystem services provided by watershed conservation and other land management activities. The authors present a method for assessing the potential for watershed conservation activities to improve surface drinking water quality and mitigate flood risks.

Valuing investments in sustainable land management in the Upper Tana River basin, Kenya

Author: Vogl et al., (2017)
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Valuing investments in sustainable land management in the Upper Tana basin, Kenya provides a case study of valuing ecosystem services using the InVEST model (of the Natural Capital Project) to assess the multiple benefits of land management practices in a large, diverse watershed. This study provides detailed analysis of targeted interventions that take into account stakeholder preferences, local environmental and socio-economic conditions. The outputs of the model link biophysical outputs to monetary metrics, including reduced water treatment costs, increased hydropower production, and crop yield benefits.

On Spatially Distributed Hydrologic Ecosystem Services: Bridging the Quantitative Information Gap Using Remote Sensing and Hydrological Models

Author: Simons et al., (2017)
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The white paper, On Spatially Distributed Hydrologic Ecosystem Services, provides an explanation of and use case examples for a hydrologic ecosystem services model. This is a useful resource for quantification of water-related ecosystem services.The model is spatially and temporally designed for basin-scale analyses.

Methods for Evaluating Temporal Groundwater Quality Data and Results of Decadal-Scale Changes in Chloride, Dissolved Solids, and Nitrate Concentrations in Groundwater in the United States, 1988–2010

Author: Lindsey & Rupert, U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) (2012)
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Methods for Evaluating Temporal Groundwater Quality Data and Results of Decadal-Scale Changes in Chloride, Dissolved Solids, and Nitrate Concentrations in Groundwater in the United States, 1988–2010 analyzes groundwater quality trends in the United States between 1988 and 2010. Samples were extracted in two sampling events (the first event between 1988 and 2000 and the second event between 2001 and 2010) from 1,235 wells residing in 56 well networks in and measurements taken for dissolved solids, chloride, and nitrate. The comparison of the two sampling events revealed significant increases in dissolved solids, chloride, and nitrate concentrations from the 1988-2000 period to the 2001-2010 period.

Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) Water Pollution Search

Author: U.S. EPA (N/A)
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Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) Water Pollution Search is an online tool that allows users to search discharge monitoring reports (DMR) and the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI). The tool allows the user to search by reporting year (data available for 2007-2018), discharge area (specific location or watershed), pollutant (i.e., nitrogen, phosphorus, metals, etc.), and the discharging industry or facility (i.e., publicly owned treatment works, industrial point sources). The goal of the tool is to increase awareness and transparency in order to encourage compliance with pollution regulations.

Seawater desalination and serum magnesium concentrations in Israel

Author: Koren et al., (2017)
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Seawater desalination and serum magnesium concentrations in Israel examines the impact of drinking desalinated water on body magnesium levels in Israel. The study collected data for body magnesium levels in a large population (n = 66,764) before and after desalinated water consumption. The results revealed that body magnesium levels increased significantly in people who drank desalinated water.

Desalinated seawater supply and all-cause mortality in hospitalized acute myocardial infarction patients from the Acute Coronary Syndrome Israeli Survey 2002-2013

Author: Shlezinger et al., (2016)
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Desalinated seawater supply and all-cause mortality in hospitalized acute myocardial infarction patients from the Acute Coronary Syndrome Israeli Survey 2002-2013 examines the effects of consuming desalinated water on hypomagnesemia and cardiovascular health in Israeli communities. The study presents data on rates of mortality in patients who came from regions that used desalinated water for drinking water compared to patients who came from regions that did not use desalinated water. Before the use of desalinated water, rates of mortality were the same in both regions, however, after use of desalinated water in one region, rates of mortality were higher in the region using desalinated water for drinking water.

Association between exposure to desalinated sea water and ischemic heart disease, diabetes mellitus and colorectal cancer; A population-based study in Israel

Author: Shlezinger et al., (2018)
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Association between exposure to desalinated sea water and ischemic heart disease, diabetes mellitus and colorectal cancer; A population-based study in Israel presents data on the impacts of drinking desalinated water on ischemic heart disease, diabetes mellitus, and colorectal cancer in Israel. The results revealed a significant increase in ischemic heart disease in the populations that consumed desalinated water as their primary drinking water source. It is hypothesized that this increase is due to lowered levels of magnesium found in desalinated water.

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’.

Waste Less, Pollute Less: Using Urban Water Conservation to Advance Clean Water Act Compliance

Author: Levine, NRDC (2014)
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Waste Less, Pollute Less: Using Urban Water Conservation to Advance Clean Water Act Compliance (blog and issue brief) presents the case for water conservation and efficiency measures to help municipalities and wastewater treatment facilities improve compliance with the federal Clean Water Act. The authors call on the U.S. EPA and the States to implement measures to support increased water conservation and efficiency measures with the goal of improving CWA compliance.

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.

Assessing the Return on Investment in Watershed Conservation: Best Practices Approach and Case Study for the Rio Camboriú PWS Program, Santa Catarina, Brazil

Author: Kroeger et al., The Nature Conservancy (2017)
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Assessing the Return on Investment in Watershed Conservation applies a return on investment (ROI) framework to a watershed conservation project in Santa Catarina, Brazil. The framework involves quantification of the relationships between 1) intervention, 2) ecosystem structure, 3) ecosystem function, 4) ecosystem service, 5) benefit, and 6) values and program cost. The report illustrates that restoring source watersheds is a cost-effective way to reduce drinking water treatment costs, improve water supply resilience, and protect biodiversity. The ecosystem services quantified in the study include sediment concentrations at water treatment intake, which when reduced can lead to avoided peak season water loss, avoided use of chemicals, avoided dry sludge landfilling, and avoided pumping. The report also includes costs for landowner engagement and interventions, as well as land rentals.

Water Reuse: An International Survey of Current Practice, Issues and Needs

Author: Jiménez & Asano, (2008)
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Water Reuse: An International Survey of Current Practice, Issues and Needs presents an in-depth review of water reuse practices from across the globe. The main objective is to show how wastewater reuse is conceived and practiced differently around the world. The sections in the book focus on different aspects of water reuse, including but not limited to, water reuse by end-use type, climate and social/economic similarities, emerging controversial topics in the field, and contrasting case studies. The book is written for all stakeholders involved in wastewater reuse applications.

Characterization of unplanned water reuse in the EU

Author: Drewes et al., Technical University of Munich (2017)
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Characterization of unplanned water reuse in the EU presents findings from research conducted to quantify the impacts of unintentional or ‘de facto’ water reuse within Europe. De facto water reuse occurs where the outflow of treated wastewater flows into a surface water or groundwater body that is then used as a water supply source, without the intention of having that supply be a reuse supply. De facto reuse may cause adverse impacts on aquatic life, downstream surface water quality, and groundwater quality.

Water-use efficiency and productivity: rethinking the basin approach

Author: Gleick, Smith, & Cooley, (2011)
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Water-use efficiency and productivity: rethinking the basin approach is a response to a paper in Water International. The paper highlights major components of inefficient water use that were ignored, examines water productivity rather than just water efficiency, and discusses co-benefits. The co-benefits of water-use efficiency examined are improved water quality, increased production, improved water supply reliability, decreased energy demands, and reduced or delayed infrastructure investments.

Green Stormwater Infrastructure Economics in the Boise Urban Area

Author: Hjerpe & Adams, (2015)
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Green Stormwater Infrastructure Economics in the Boise Urban Area (2015) examines the economics of green versus grey infrastructure in Boise, Idaho. Infrastructure projects analyzed include bioretention, trees with suspended pavement systems, permeable pavement, bioswales, conventional trees without suspended pavement systems, and conventional paved alleyways. Biophysical services and social benefits are compared to the alternative (i.e., status quo) option to determine the differences in services. The biophysical services identified include waste absorption/pollutant reduction, groundwater recharge, carbon sequestration, temperature reduction, and biodiversity/habitat provision. The social benefits identified include clean drinking water, water supply, clean air, aesthetics and recreation, pedestrian and vehicle safety, heat island effect, education and community engagement, and compliance credits.

Desalination, with a Grain of Salt: A California Perspective

Author: Cooley, Gleick, & Wolff, Pacific Institute (2006)
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Desalination, with a Grain of Salt: A California Perspective presents an overview of the benefits and risks of ocean desalination, with a focus on the economic, cultural, and environmental benefits and costs. The benefits cited within this report include water quality, water supply diversity and reliability, energy intensity, and environmental impacts. The report concludes that the economic costs are high and other options may be available, including treating low-quality local water sources, encouraging regional water transfers, improving conservation and efficiency, accelerating wastewater recycling and reuse, and implementing smart land-use planning.

The Value of Green Infrastructure: A Guide to Recognizing Its Economic, Environmental and Social Benefits

Author: Center for Neighborhood Technology, American Rivers (2010)
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The Value of Green Infrastructure: A Guide to Recognizing Its Economic, Environmental and Social Benefits is an in-depth framework for evaluating the multiple benefits of green infrastructure projects, including green roofs, tree planting, bioretention and infiltration, permeable pavement, and water harvesting. The framework provides methodologies for valuation of water, energy, air quality, and climate change-related benefits, as well as a qualitative discussion on community livability and public education benefits.

Quantifying Watershed Restoration Benefits in Community Water Partnership Projects

Author: LimnoTech, Global Environment & Technology Foundation (GETF) (2015)
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Quantifying Watershed Restoration Benefits in Community Water Partnership Projects is a report that aims to quantify water-related benefits of Coca-Cola Company watershed protection, water for productive use, and water access projects. The report identifies nine categories of watershed restoration actions, including agricultural land practice changes, stormwater management, land use/land cover alterations, hydraulic/hydrologic waterbody alterations, recaptured leakage from water systems, wastewater treatment, biologic management, water reuse, and rainwater harvesting and aquifer recharge. The benefits quantified within this report include water quantity and water quality (i.e., sediment reduction), and the benefits not quantified include habitat improvement, biodiversity, and carbon sequestration.

Putting Green to Work: Economic Recovery Investments for Clean and Reliable Water

Author: American Rivers (2010)
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Putting Green to Work: Economic Recovery Investments for Clean and Reliable Water categorizes “green” and “bright green” projects that provide multiple environmental and economic benefits, including improved water quality and quantity, reduced runoff and flooding, groundwater recharge, improved habitats, reduced energy use, and overall water supply reliability. The report focuses primarily on green infrastructure and demand management projects, as well as leveraging natural capital for water management, including examples from specific states and cities with a focus on funding projects. The report provides a qualitative discussion of the multiple benefits.

Water Storage Investment Program Technical Reference

Author: California Water Commission (2016)
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Water Storage Investment Program Technical Reference details the methodology for quantifying the co-benefits or adverse impacts of water storage projects under California’s Water Storage Investment Program (WSIP). The report outlines methods for quantification of various co-benefits and adverse impacts, providing guidance on defining future site conditions, calculating physical changes, monetizing project benefits and costs, comparing benefits and costs, properly allocating costs to beneficiaries, determining cost-effectiveness and public-benefit ratio, and evaluating sources of uncertainty. Projects that quantify public benefits following these methodologies are eligible for California state bond funding to pay for the public benefits.

Review of IRWM Planning and Implementation in California

Author: California Department of Water Resources (2015)
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Review of IRWM Planning and Implementation in California presents an assessment of Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) planning and implementation practices that supports California’s Department of Water Resources (DWR) Strategic Plan. DWR aims to work with regions in California to develop Integrated Regional Water Management Plans (IRWMPs) and prioritize proposals for funding that include multiple benefit projects.

Adapting to Change: Utility Systems and Declining Flows

Author: California Urban Water Agencies (2017)
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Adapting to Change: Utility Systems and Declining Flows explores the consequences of reduced indoor flows related to conservation on urban water supply systems in California. The report illustrates that demand management through water use efficiency can have many co-benefits including improved drought resilience, improved in-stream flows, reduced or deferred cost of infrastructure, and reduced energy costs; declining flows, however, can negatively impact water distribution, conveyance, wastewater treatment, and recycled water policy. Specific examples and details are presented within the report, including survey and interview data.