16 Multi-Benefit Resources


The Untapped Potential of California’s Water Supply: Efficiency, Reuse, and Stormwater – Issue Brief

Author: Pacific Institute, NRDC (2014)
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Increased pressures on California’s water supply, including from population growth and intense periods of drought exacerbated by climate change, are leading to the overuse of surface water and groundwater. But with existing technology and conservation methods, the state can take vital steps to improve its resilience to drought and plan for a more sustainable water future. This issue brief, produced in collaboration with the Natural Resources Defense Council, is a statewide analysis of the potential for improved efficiency in agricultural and urban water use, water reuse and recycling, and increased capturing of local rainwater.

Water LA

Author: The River Project (2018)
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The 2018 Water LA report by the River Project explores the opportunities for and challenges of building a resilient region by making small, distributed changes to the urban landscape. The report offers a case study from LA where parcel-scale water management projects provide different social, environmental, and economic benefits.

The estimated impact of California’s urban water conservation mandate on electricity consumption and greenhouse gas emissions

Author: (2018)
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In The estimated impact of California’s urban water conservation mandate on electricity consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, Spang et al. use the reported water conservation data to assess how the water utilities have responded to the 2015 California water reduction mandate and to estimate the electricity savings and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions associated with reduced operation of urban water infrastructure systems.

Embedded Energy in Water Studies 1, 2 and 3

Author: California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) (2010)
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CPUCs Embedded Energy in Water Studies provide a California statewide assessment of energy use by the water sector and energy use by water customers. There are three separate reports, each including supporting appendices and materials, that document methodology, data collection, case studies, and findings of the investigation.

Life cycle based analysis of demands and emissions for residential water-using appliances

Author: (2012)
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Life cycle based analysis of demands and emissions for residential water-using appliances focuses on the indirect consumption and environmental impacts from end-use water demand of household appliances. It quantifies the energy and greenhouse gas emissions from three residential water-using appliances using life-cycle analysis.

Impacts of Urban Water Conservation Strategies on Energy, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, and Health: Southern California as a Case Study

Author: (2016)
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Impacts of Urban Water Conservation Strategies on Energy, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, and Health: Southern California as a Case Study expands on a 2014 health impact assessment of California’s urban water conservation strategies to evaluate the impacts of two possible conservation approaches: banning landscape irrigation and expanding alternative water sources (e.g. recycled water). Findings show that expanding alternative water sources can have a highly positive impact on public health.

An Analysis of the Energy Intensity of Water in California: Providing a Basis for Quantification of Energy Savings from Water System Improvements

Author: (2006)
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An Analysis of the Energy Intensity of Water in California: Providing a Basis for Quantification of Energy Savings from Water System Improvements analyzes water-related energy use in California. The report examines energy inputs to water systems for: 1) primary water extraction, conveyance, and storage, 2) treatment and distribution within service areas, 3) on-site water pumping, treatment, and thermal inputs, and 4) wastewater collection, treatment, and discharge. The report concludes that “with better information regarding the energy implications of water use, public policy and combined investment and management strategies between energy, water, and wastewater agencies and utilities can be improved.” The benefits cited for these energy savings include avoided capital and operating costs, reduced burden on rate-payers, improved distribution of capital, and environmental benefits.

Valuing the Environmental Benefits of Urban Water Conservation: Final Report

Author: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, University of California at Berkeley, California Urban Watershed Council (2006)
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Valuing the Environmental Benefits of Urban Water Conservation Final Report presents a method for valuing the environmental benefits of water conservation and efficiency. Water savings of a particular water conservation strategy are represented by the reduction in water demand, as well as the resulting co-benefits, including enhanced fish habitats, increased recreational opportunities, and improved water quality as a result of wetland filtration. The report provides a methodology for monetizing these environmental benefits so as to provide utilities with a method for comparing the benefits and costs of various best management practices.

Sustaining California Agriculture in an Uncertain Future

Author: 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.

Recognizing the Value of Energy Efficiency’s Multiple Benefits

Author: (2015)
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Recognizing the Value of Energy Efficiency’s Multiple Benefits emphasizes the multiple benefits of improved energy efficiency for the residential, business, and utility sectors. The multiple benefits identified within this report include comfort, health, financial, and risk-abatement. The report argues that these multiple benefits can exceed utility bill savings, and therefore should be included into management decisions, policy decisions, and efficiency programs.

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.

The Economic Benefits of Green Infrastructure A Case Study of Lancaster, PA

Author: U.S. EPA (2014)
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The Economic Benefits of Green Infrastructure: A Case Study of Lancaster, PA provides an economic valuation of green infrastructure in Lancaster, PA based on the Framework described in CNT’s “The Value of Green Infrastructure: A Guide to Recognizing Its Economic, Environmental and Social Benefits, 2010”. The report provides data requirements and methodologies for evaluation of water-related benefits (avoided capital costs of storage needs, avoided operational costs from wastewater treatment), energy-related benefits (reduced energy use for indoor temperature control), air-quality benefits (smog reduction, including NO2, O3, SO2 and PM10), and climate change-related benefits (CO2 reduction from carbon sequestration, reductions in water and wastewater pumping and treatment, and building energy use). The report also includes a discussion on the additional qualitative benefits including reduced urban heat island effect, increased property value, reduced noise pollution, increased recreational opportunities, habitat improvement, public education, and community cohesion.

Greenhouse Gas and Energy Co-Benefits of Water Conservation

Author: Polis Project (2009)
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Greenhouse Gas and Energy Co-Benefits of Water Conservation examines the multiple benefits that are produced from the “water-energy nexus”. The benefits include indirect energy savings from municipal water and wastewater provision, indirect and direct energy use, and embedded energy for chemical manufacturing. The report includes example case studies conducted on various scales (program, municipal, provincial, and community levels), as well as provides methodologies for the quantification of the cited energy benefits.

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’.

Implications of Future Water Supply Sources for Energy Demands

Author: Pacific Institute, WateReuse Research Foundation (2012)
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Implications of Future Water Supply Sources for Energy Demands describes the Water-Energy Simulator (WESim), an easy-to-use analytical tool for evaluating the energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) implications of water management decisions. In this report, energy is considered for (1) source water extraction, (2) water conveyance, (3) water treatment, (4) water distribution, (5) wastewater collection, and (6) wastewater treatment. WESim can include commercial and residential end uses of water and energy requirements for end uses. The report includes case studies utilizing WESim by the Santa Clara Valley Water District and Denver Water.