81 Multi-Benefit Resources


UWIN Webinar Series: Research Series

Author: Urban Water Innovation Network (UWIN) (2015)
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UWIN Webinars, Research Seminar Series provides webinars on the One Water Solutions Institute research. The webinars are divided into four series, or thrusts: Thrust A addresses the sustainability of urban water systems by comparing past land and water use trends to future predictions, Thrust B examines solutions for sustainability of urban water systems using data and models, Thrust C discusses how cities can encourage the adoption of sustainable water management solutions, and finally, Thrust D analyzes how decision making can be advanced through integration of data, models, and results from past projects. The results from Thrust D will form the basis for the sustainability metrics/indicators utilized in the UWIN Urban Water Sustainability Blueprint.

Greenprint Resource Hub

Author: The Nature Conservancy, The Conservation Fund, The Trust for Public Land (N/A)
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Greenprint Resource Hub, developed by the Nature Conservancy, is a resource designed to assist managers, policy-makers, and communities on utilizing greenprint in their conservation planning projects. Greenprint is a conservation strategy or tool that addresses economic, environmental, and social benefits of habitats (i.e., grasslands, shrublands, streams, forests, estuaries, wetlands), parks and open spaces (i.e., local parks, state parks, regional trails), complete communities (i.e., healthy residents, green infrastructure), and working lands (i.e., farmlands, grazing lands, timberlands). The resource includes greenprint case studies, a review of best practices, and relevant funding and policies.

Energy Down the Drain: The Hidden Costs of California’s Water Supply

Author: Cohen, Nelson, & Wolff, NRDC, Pacific Institute (2004)
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Energy Down the Drain: The Hidden Costs of California’s Water Supply analyzes the connections between power and water resources in California. The report presents several key findings: 1) water conservation lowers energy use and energy bills, 2) water recycling is a highly energy efficient water source, 3) retiring agricultural land may increase energy use if the water is transferred to other agricultural or urban uses, 4) Retiring agricultural land can save energy if the water is dedicated to the environment, and 5) diverting water above dams costs an enormous amount of power and money. Based on these findings it is recommended that decision makers better integrate energy into water policy decision-making, as well as give water conservation higher priority.

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.

Just the FACTS: Dams in California

Author: Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) (2017)
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Just the FACTS: Dams in California highlights several key considerations of dams in California. The considerations include the crucial role of dams in water management in California, the multiple objectives that dams are designed to meet and the conflicts that exist within these objectives, the need for dam infrastructure upgrades, the benefits of new dams, and the reasons to remove old dams. The multiple benefits of dams include supplying water, reducing flood risk, providing energy, and recreation, however, in order to provide these benefits dam operations conflict with several public benefits, including wildlife habitats and recreation.

Recognizing the Value of Energy Efficiency’s Multiple Benefits

Author: Russell et al., (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.

One Water Plan

Author: Santa Clara Valley Water District (2017)
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The One Water Plan for the Santa Clara Valley Water District integrates water supply, water quality, and flood control initiatives to promote overall system efficiency. The One Water approach to water resource management is set by the 1) vision, 2) goals, 3) objectives, 4) strategies, and 5) project, program, policy, and partnership. The goals for implementing this integrated stormwater approach include improved water supply reliability and water quality, ecological sustainability, resilient baylands, and community collaboration. This plan acts as a guide for management decisions within the five major basins in Santa Clara County: Guadalupe, Coyote, Uvas/Llagas, Lower Peninsula, and West Valley.

Public Private Partnerships and Finance of Large-Scale Green Infrastructure in the Great Lakes Basin

Author: Sinha et al., Environmental Consulting and Technology, Inc; Corvias; Encourage Capital (2017)
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Public Private Partnerships and Finance of Large-Scale Green Infrastructure in the Great Lakes Basin is a report presenting the outcome of an initiative to implement “large-scale” green infrastructure projects using private financing and/or private delivery in the Great Lakes Basin. “Large-scale” is defined as a green infrastructure project that requires an investment of at least $50 million in a particular region. The report identifies main economic and regulatory drivers for green infrastructure, as well as presents a decision tree as a tool to help communities decide if private financing is appropriate for their needs.

Rainwater as a Resource: A Report on Three Sites Demonstrating Sustainable Stormwater Management

Author: TreePeople (2007)
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Rainwater as a Resource: A Report on Three Sites Demonstrating Sustainable Stormwater Management (2007) presents three case studies for stormwater management: (1) single-family, parcel sized greening in South Los Angeles, CA, (2) campus greening at Hillery T. Broadous Elementary School in Pacoima, CA, and (3) campus greening at Open Charter Magnet Elementary School in Westchester, CA. The report includes costs and quantified benefits for tree benefits (tree canopy, carbon storage, carbon sequestration, energy savings), stormwater benefits (runoff reduction, avoided storage), and air pollution benefits (ozone, SO2, NO2, PM10, and CO removal). The report also includes a discussion of additional non-quantified benefits including student health and safety, green waste reuse, and green recreation space.

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.

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’.

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 Location and Scale of Urban Nonpotable Water Reuse Systems for Life-Cycle Energy Consumption and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Author: Kavvada et al., University of California, Berkeley ReNUWIt (2016)
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Assessing Location and Scale of Urban Nonpotable Water Reuse Systems for Life-Cycle Energy Consumption and Greenhouse Gas Emissions examines nonpotable water reuse at different scales to compare centralized and decentralized systems for energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. The article presents a planning and support tool for determining the optimal scale and treatment technology for reuse in different locations and elevations.

Greenhouse Gas and Energy Co-Benefits of Water Conservation

Author: Maas, 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.

Techno-economic assessment and environmental impacts of desalination technologies

Author: Mezher et al., (2011)
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Techno-economic assessment and environmental impacts of desalination technologies provides a review of desalination technologies, including energy requirements, water production costs, technological growth trends, environmental impacts, and possible technological improvements. The report also provides desalination policies from major desalination users, including Saudi Arabia, United States, Spain, China, Kuwait, and United Arab Emirates.

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Author: The Natural Capital Project (N/A)
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The Natural Capital Project is a coalition of academic and non-profit organizations, including Stanford University, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the University of Minnesota, the Nature Conservancy, and the World Wildlife Fund. The Natural Capital Project works towards integrating the costs and benefits of nature into decision making in order to encourage investments in natural capital. The team primarily conducts research and develops open-source software tools.

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.

Barriers and Gateways to Green Infrastructure

Author: Clean Water America Alliance (2011)
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Barriers and Gateways to Green Infrastructure identifies and explores the major barriers to implementation of green infrastructure for stormwater management. The barriers were identified through a survey of various stakeholder groups from across the United States, and included the following themes: technical and physical barriers, legal and regulatory barriers, financial barriers, and community and institutional barriers. The report also provides several recommendations to the U.S. EPA for overcoming these barriers, including creation of new stormwater regulations and permits, full accounting for economic and environmental benefits, embracing of new stormwater approaches, and increased federal funding for green infrastructure.

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.

Integrated Decision Support Tool (I-DST)

Author: Colorado School of Mines, The Nature Conservancy, UC Berkeley, ReNUWIT (N/A)
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The Integrated Decision Support Tool (I-DST) aims to help water managers in the quantitative assessment of grey, green, or hybrid infrastructure projects. As of early 2019 the tool is under development, with eventual capability to generate hydrologic and water quality models, a life-cycle cost assessment, valuation of the co-benefits of green and grey infrastructure, optimization of management practices, uncertainty analysis, climate change predictions, and stormwater best management practices.

Implications of Future Water Supply Sources for Energy Demands

Author: Cooley & Wilkinson, 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.

The Economics of Low-Impact Development: A Literature Review

Author: ECONorthwest (2007)
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The Economics of Low-Impact Development: A Literature Review provides a review of economic valuations of low-impact development projects. The multiple benefits of low-impact development cited within the report include reduced flooding, improved water quality, increased groundwater recharge, reduced public expenditures on stormwater infrastructure, reduced energy use, improved air quality, and enhanced aesthetics and property values. The report provides guidance and literature discussion on methodologies for calculating the costs and benefits of low-impact development projects.

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.

The Value of Green Infrastructure for Urban Climate Adaptation

Author: Foster, Lowe, & Winkelman, Center for Clean Air Policy (2011)
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The Value of Green Infrastructure for Urban Climate Adaptation provides a methodology for calculating the costs and benefits of green infrastructure, with particular focus on urban climate adaptation. Benefits of green infrastructure include land value, quality of life, public health, hazard mitigation, and regulatory compliance. In the report, economic analyses are provided for “Eco-Roofs,” Green Alleys and Streets, and Urban Forestry with several case study examples provided.

Living Streets Economic Feasibility Project: Final Report

Author: Abdullah & Blyth, Heal the Bay, Climate Resolve, GreenLA Coalition (2016)
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Living Streets Economic Feasibility Report presents an alternate, new paradigm to guide the future of street and sidewalk infrastructure design and creation for Los Angeles. The term they use for this new paradigm is “Living Streets”, and it incorporates green infrastructure and stormwater capture within street design to improve air quality, water quantity and quality, flooding, human health, and aesthetics within urban regions. The report presents the costs and benefits of Living Streets, and compares them to the costs and benefits of continuing with business as usual, as well as against what they call “Green Streets,” “Cool Streets,” and “Complete Streets.”

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.

Banking on Green: A Look at How Green Infrastructure Can Save Municipalities Money and Provide Economic Benefits Community-wide

Author: American Rivers, the Water Environment Federation, the American Society of Landscape Architects, ECONorthwest (2012)
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Banking on Green provides a business case for green infrastructure practices in the United States. Benefits cited within the report include reduced stormwater runoff, reduced energy costs, reduced impacts of flooding, improvements in public health, and reduced infrastructure costs. Within the report, it is argued that green infrastructure can blend seamlessly with traditional grey infrastructure, and make communities more resilient in the face of extreme events and climate change. The report provides case studies of successful green infrastructure projects across the United States, and a qualitative discussion on the multiple benefits.

A framework for assessing urban greenery’s effects and valuing its ecosystem services

Author: Andersson-Sköld et al., (2018)
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A framework for assessing urban greenery’s effects and valuing its ecosystem services identifies biophysical structure components of urban green space, the associated function, an indicator, effectivity factor, and ecosystem services associated. The framework compares the perceived value of the ecosystem service to other potential services (i.e., public transport, housing, or culture, compared to biodiversity, stormwater flood risk, and perceived well being). The article includes a case study in which the framework was applied to urban areas in Gothenburg, Sweden.

The Economic Benefits of Multipurpose Reservoirs in the United States-Federal Hydropower Fleet

Author: Bonnet et al., Oak Ridge National Laboratory (2015)
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The Economic Benefits of Multipurpose Reservoirs in the United States-Federal Hydropower Fleet estimates the economic benefits of multipurpose hydropower reservoirs with a focus on the Tennessee Valley Authority, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and the US Bureau of Reclamation. The multipurposes are divided into six categories of federal uses: hydropower, flood control, navigation, recreation, water supply, and irrigation. The report provides the calculated percent of total benefits accrued within each category, with results showing that recreation possessed the largest overall benefit as defined by visitor days and daily spending.

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.

Life-cycle cost-benefit analysis of extensive vegetated roof systems

Author: Carter & Keeler, (2008)
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Life-cycle cost-benefit analysis of extensive vegetated roof systems assesses the benefits and costs of green roofs from a pilot study in Athens, Georgia, including private and social benefits. The public benefits identified were avoided best management practice costs, energy savings, and air quality, and the private benefits identified were stormwater utility fee credits, building energy savings, and air quality. The costs identified in the study included lifetime construction and maintenance. The study revealed that green roofs were 10-14% more expensive than conventional counterparts, and therefore, recommended that a broader range of positive social benefits be included in the analysis in order to outweigh the higher construction costs and encourage the construction of green roofs.