31 Multi-Benefit Resources


The Marginal Economic Value of Streamflow From National Forests

Author: Thomas Brown, U.S. Forest Service (2004)
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The Marginal Economic Value of Streamflow From National Forests uses water markets to estimate the marginal value of streamflow in surface water bodies originating in national forests. Evaluating 2,000 western U.S. transactions, the authors find the value of water varies widely with location. This indicates local evaluation is needed for accurate valuation and general valuations are only useful for rough estimates.

Economic-Engineering Method for Assessing Trade-Offs between Instream and Offstream Uses

Author: Génova et al., (2019)
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Economic-Engineering Method for Assessing Trade-Offs between Instream and Offstream Uses creates a method for comparing values of instream and offstream uses of water. Using the example of a river in Chile, the authors compare the valuation of more energy generation with providing more water for the river to support recreation. The method found the benefits depended heavily on drought and energy prices.

Recreation Benefits of Instream Flow: Application to Montana’s Big Hole and Bitterroot Rivers

Author: Duffield et al., US Forest Service (1998)
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Recreation Benefits of Instream Flow: Application to Montana’s Big Hole and Bitterroot Rivers uses economic valuation to calculate recreational and downstream energy production benefits. The authors develop an instream valuation framework and apply it to a Montana river case study.

Assessing The Direct Effects of Streamflow on Recreation: A Literature Review

Author: Brown et al., US Forest Service (1991)
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Assessing The Direct Effects of Streamflow on Recreation: A Literature Review examines the relationship between stream flows and recreation quality. Most papers found a nonlinear relationship between increases in stream flows and recreation quality. Recreation quality increases with streamflows until a site specific point, and then levels out. This indicates there could be an optimum stream flow in water systems for recreation quality.

Water for Wilderness Areas: Instream Flow Needs, Protection, and Economic Value

Author: Brown, US Forest Service (1991)
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Water for Wilderness Areas: Instream Flow Needs, Protection, and Economic Value reviews literature to examine the needs of wilderness for instream flows. Instream flows sufficient for supporting recreation may not be sufficient for supporting wilderness needs. There is no consensus on how much quantity or value these flows have, but existence value techniques may be able to estimate this.

Conservation Gateway

Author: The Nature Conservancy (N/A)
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The Conservation Gateway provides resources to support conservation practices in water management. The gateway provides a variety of resources from funding for freshwater conservation to protocols on water quality assessment. The resources are divided between: Corporate Water Use, Environmental Flows, Water Infrastructure, Water Quality, Habitat Protection and Restoration, Financial Solutions, Saving Great Rivers, and Setting Freshwater Priorities.

Wellspring: Source Water Resilience and Climate Adaptation

Author: Matthews et al., The Nature Conservancy (2019)
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Wellspring: Source Water Resilience and Climate Adaptation contributes to the evolving discussions connected to source water protection, risk, resilience, and climate change. This report provides a thorough description of literature, tools, and case examples of resilient management of source waters.

Lower Snake River Dams: Economic Tradeoffs of Removal

Author: EconNorthwest (2019)
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The report, Lower Snake River Dams: Economic Tradeoffs of Removal, analyzes the costs and benefits of removing four dams along the lower Snake River in Washington State. The analysis applies economic values to the following benefits and tradeoffs: changes related to hydropower electric grid services, irrigation water supply, transportation along on the river corridor, recreation, and non-use values such as a restored natural river system and reduced extinction risk of wild salmon.

Nature-Based Solutions Evidence Tool

Author: University of Oxford (2019)
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The Nature-Based Solutions Evidence Tool is primarily an online catalog of peer-reviewed research that provides evidence of the impacts of nature-based solutions (NbS) on a wide variety of benefit categories. The tool allows the user to filter results in a variety of ways, including by intervention type, habitat type, climate change impact, effect of Nbs on ecosystem service, geography, and more. Results are displayed in a variety of formats, helping the user to understand the landscape of quantitative and economic research related to a variety of NbSs.

Methods to Assess Co-Benefits of California Climate Investments: Water Supply and Availability

Author: Einstein & Litke, Center for Resource Efficient Communities, UC-Berkeley (2017)
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Methods to Assess Co-benefits of California Climate Investments: Water Supply and Availability is a literature review of the different methodologies and approaches to quantifying the water supply and availability benefits from California Climate Investment projects. California Climate Investments are a broad group of projects being pursued across the state to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as wetland restoration and urban tree planting. While the literature review is targeted at California projects, some of the information provided could be applicable more broadly in the U.S.

The Blueprint for Increased Investment in Green Infrastructure

Author: Earth Economics (2018)
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The Blueprint for Increased Investment in Green Infrastructure is a comprehensive resource for water managers and other decision makers seeking to start or expand investment in green infrastructure. The Blueprint presents five major cultural and institutional shifts that are required at the municipal level for the grown in green infrastructure. Data, tools, tips, and other resources are also provided.

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.

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.

Informing watershed planning and policy in the Truckee River basin through stakeholder engagement, scenario development, and impact evaluation

Author: Podolak et al., (2017)
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In Informing watershed planning… Podolak et al. evaluate the water quality and water quantity impacts of stream andl and restoration activities in the Truckee River watershed, in the context of regulatory compliance goals. Using the InVEST model to compare stakeholder-determined scenarios of different restoration activities, locations, and investment levels, the results demonstrate how these differences impact water quality outcomes.

National Management Measures to Protect and Restore Wetlands and Riparian Areas for the Abatement of Nonpoint Source Pollution

Author: U.S. EPA (2005)
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National Management Measures to Protect and Restore Wetlands and Riparian Areas for the Abatement of Nonpoint Source Pollution is a guidance document that is targeted at state level employees seeking management options for non-point source (NPS) pollution. The report provides guidance on reducing NPS pollution through wetland and riparian area restoration and protection and vegetated treatment systems. The report also includes further resources for NPS pollution management practices as well as relevant case studies organized by territory, state, and tribe.

Valuing the Environmental Benefits of Urban Water Conservation: Final Report

Author: Coughlin et al., 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: 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.

Sustainable Rivers Project

Author: The Nature Conservancy, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (2011)
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The Sustainable Rivers Project aims to enhance river habitats through modification of dam operations. The report includes eight case studies on sustainable river projects conducted throughout the United States. The benefits of these river preservation strategies include improved water quality, flood protection, enhanced fish habitats, increased tourism and recreation, and improved community livability and aesthetics. The Sustainable Rivers Projects also works to encourage community engagement, particularly by those living on or near the rivers, by providing outreach, workshops, and meetings.

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.

Co-benefits for Water and Biodiversity from the Sustainable Management of High Nature Value Farmland

Author: Moran & Sullivan, Centre for Environmental Research Innovation and Sustainability (2017)
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Co-benefits for Water and Biodiversity from the Sustainable Management of High Nature Value Farmland examines the potential for high nature value farmland in Ireland. The types of high nature value landscapes cited in the report include farmed uplands, calcareous grassland and limestone pavement, machair/coastal grasslands, wet grasslands, islands, river floodplains, and the Wexford slobs. The report discusses water quality and water quantity benefits, as well as potential biodiversity benefits that can result from the maintenance of high nature value landscapes.

LA Sustainable Water Project: Los Angeles River Watershed

Author: Mika et al., UCLA Grand Challenges (2017)
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LA Sustainable Water Project: Los Angeles River Watershed provides an in-depth analysis of the potential future opportunities for water recycling, stormwater capture, groundwater recharge, and water quality improvements along the Los Angeles River. The analysis takes into account current water supply and water quality projects and management practices along the river. The report deduces that more work is needed to better understand optimal levels of stormwater capture and water recycling along the river so as to balance the impact on in-stream flows.

Impacts of forest restoration on water yield: A systematic review

Author: Filoso et al., (2017)
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Impacts of forest restoration on water yield: A systematic review provides an academic review of 666 journals and studies conducted on the impact of forest restoration on water yields. From the works reviewed, forest restoration generally led to decreases in water yields, baseflow, and groundwater temporarily. The report suggests that green water may increase from reforestation, but there is little evidence to suggest that blue water will increase from reforestation.

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.

Guidelines for Preparing Economic Analysis for Water Recycling Projects

Author: De Souza et al., University of California Davis Center for Watershed Sciences (2011)
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Guidelines for Preparing Economic Analysis for Water Recycling Projects provides an in-depth methodology for economic analysis of water recycling projects, including all benefits and costs “to whomsoever they accrue” at the completion of the project. The methodology includes benefits that directly affect the proposing agency, individuals, households, or businesses, such as water supply, water supply reliability, and local control, as well as the indirect benefits, such as environmental changes (i.e., streamflow, reducing groundwater pumping), recreation, nutrient loading, and effect on soil and groundwater.

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.

Proposition 1 Stormwater Grant Program Guidelines

Author: California State Resources Water Quality Control Board (2015)
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Proposition 1 Stormwater Grant Program Guidelines, related to the Stormwater Grant Program (SWGP), establishes the process and criteria by which Proposition 1 funds are awarded in the state of California. The guidelines seek to encourage public agencies to develop multi-benefit stormwater management plans, as specified in the Stormwater Resource Planning Act (SB 985), that reframe stormwater projects, including dry-weather runoff as a water supply resource.

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.

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 Efficiency for Instream Flow: Making the Link in Practice

Author: Alliance for Water Efficiency, American Rivers, Environmental Law Institute (2011)
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Water Efficiency for Instream Flow: Making the Link in Practice examines the potential for linking water efficiency efforts to improving instream flows within the Colorado River Basin. The report concludes that improving water efficiency can allow for population and economic growth without requiring a large investment in new or expanded water supplies or wastewater. It also concludes that environment and state regulatory requirements can drive water efficiency efforts. The report includes a qualitative discussion on the following benefits: reduced surface or groundwater withdrawals, operational flexibility for water utility, and instream flows.

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.

Using economic valuation techniques to inform water resources management: A survey and critical appraisal of available techniques and an application

Author: Birol, Karousakis, & Koundouri, (2006)
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Using economic valuation techniques to inform water resources management presents a non-technical introduction to the economic valuation techniques of changes in the quantity and quality of environmental resources, with a specific focus on water. This report includes dozens of relevant articles that provide cost and benefit estimates of various aspects of water resources (e.g. environmental services). It also provides a case study applying the economic valuation techniques to the Cheimaditida wetland in Greece.