142 Multi-Benefit Resources


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.

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.

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.

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.

Stormwater Capture Master Plan

Author: Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) (2015)
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Los Angeles’ Department of Water and Power (LADWP) Stormwater Capture Master Plan develops a strategy for long-term stormwater capture potential, examination of projects and programs, estimation of the value of projects with ancillary benefits, and stormwater program and policy implementations in California. Stormwater programs include on-site infiltration, green streets, subregional infiltration, on-site direct use, subregional direct use, and impervious replacement. The multiple benefits cited from increased stormwater capture include groundwater recharge, water conservation, open space alternatives, and improved downstream water quality and peak flow.

Bay Area Project Tackles Sea-Level Rise and Water Quality

Author: Meadows, NewsDeeply Water Deeply (2018)
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Bay Area Project Tackles Sea-Level Rise and Water Quality reports on a creative adaptive management strategy that has been applied to a section of the San Francisco Bay to help with sea-level rise and improve water quality. The strategy is called a “horizontal levee,” which uses vegetation on a slope to break wave impact. In the article they cite benefits for salt marshes that are at risk for disappearance due to sea-level rise, and benefits to water quality as a result of naturally occurring soil microbes uptaking nutrients in the wastewater delivered to the levee. Additionally, water that passes through the levee exhibits reduced pharmaceutical content.

Oro Loma Horizontal Levee Vegetation Report

Author: Save the Bay (2017)
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The Oro Loma Horizontal Levee Project is a multi-agency and multi-jurisdictional project combining the expertise of numerous project partners to address multiple functions for the Oro Loma wastewater treatment facility. The project converted a 10-acre field along the San Francisco Bay’s edge into an eight-million gallon holding basin connected to a horizontal levee. Water from the wastewater treatment plant will be further treated by the vegetation in the holding basin and through microbial uptake as it passes through the horizontal levee before entering the Bay. The system also serves to protect the wastewater treatment facility from sea level rise.

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.

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.

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.

Making the Utility Case for Onsite Non-potable Water Systems

Author: National Blue Ribbon Commission for Onsite Non-potable Water Systems (US Water Alliance, Water Research Foundation) (2018)
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Making the Utility Case for Onsite Non-potable Water Systems is a report that 1) defines the scope of onsite non-potable water systems, 2) highlights how utilities are using onsite non-potable water systems to meet One Water goals, 3) presents key considerations for implementing onsite non-potable water systems, and 4) outlines the role of utility leadership in implementing onsite non-potable water systems. The report also includes case studies from throughout the U.S. that illustrate the multiple benefits produced from onsite non-potable water systems, including system resilience, diversification of water supplies, stormwater management and pollution reduction, compliance with policy and regulatory requirements, reducing capital costs, enhancing environmental and community facilities, providing opportunities for public-private partnerships, and technology advancement.

Green infrastructure and its catchment-scale effects: An emerging science

Author: Golden & Hoghooghi, (2017)
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Green infrastructure and its catchment-scale effects: An emerging science provides an overview of past research conducted on the impacts of green infrastructure (GI) and low-impact development (LID) on water quality (i.e. runoff and discharge) and water quantity at localized scales. The report also presents considerations for scaling GI and LID research to the catchment-scale, advances and findings in scaling efforts, and the use of models as tools for scaling.

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.

Green Infrastructure: Lessons from Science and Practice

Author: Driscoll et al., Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Syracuse University, Science Policy Exchange (2015)
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Green Infrastructure: Lessons from Science and Practice provides a literature review of peer-reviewed journal articles that measure and analyze flood control and water quality impacts of green infrastructure from across the United States. In addition, the literature review tabulates enabling factors and barriers to green infrastructure adoption within communities.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Freshwater Health Index Dongjiang Basin, China: An assessment of freshwater ecosystem health

Author: Freshwater Health Index (2017)
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The Freshwater Health Index is a tool that examines three components of ecosystem health: ecosystem vitality (i.e., water quantity, water quality, basin condition, and biodiversity), ecosystem services (i.e., provisioning, regulation and support, and cultural), and governance & stakeholders (i.e., enabling environment, stakeholder management, vision and adaptive governance, and effectiveness). The report applies the Freshwater Health Index to the Dongjiang Basin in China, providing semi-quantitative scores for each ecosystem health component.

Freshwater Health Index

Author: Freshwater Health Index (N/A)
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The Freshwater Health Index provides policy-makers and resource managers with a tool to evaluate policies, management options, and tradeoffs, as well as communicate basin health to the public. The Freshwater Health Index defines freshwater health as the ability to deliver water-related ecosystem services, sustainably and equitably, at the drainage basin scale. Within the Freshwater Health Index, the three components of ecosystem health include ecosystem vitality (i.e., water quantity, water quality, basin condition, and biodiversity), ecosystem services (i.e., provisioning, regulation and support, and cultural), and governance & stakeholders (i.e., enabling environment, stakeholder management, vision and adaptive governance, and effectiveness).

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.

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.

Strategy to Optimize Resource Management of Storm Water (Storm Water Strategy, STORMS)

Author: California State Water Resources Control Board (2018)
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Strategy to Optimize Resource Management of Storm Water is a California State Water Board statewide strategy for stormwater management. The STORMS program mission is “to lead the evolution of stormwater management in California by advancing the perspective that stormwater is a valuable resource, supporting policies for collaborative watershed-level stormwater management and pollution prevention, removing obstacles to funding, developing resources, and integrating regulatory and non-regulatory interests.” The strategy includes various stormwater management initiatives including improving policy and regulation around stormwater capture and use, establishing a monetary value of stormwater, and encouraging stakeholder support of stormwater management best practices.

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.”

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.

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.

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.

Management Experiences and Trends for Water Reuse Implementation in Northern California

Author: Bischel et al., (2012)
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Management Experiences and Trends for Water Reuse Implementation in Northern California examines a survey conducted in northern California on the drivers for water reuse. The surveys included questions on wastewater discharge requirements and water supply needs; local, regional, and state policy; institutional control; economic/financial incentives; ecological goals or requirements; influential stakeholders; and technological advancements. The major hindrances included economic/financial disincentives (i.e., capital costs for construction), perceptions and social attitudes, regulatory constraints, water quality impacts, user acceptance, institutional issues, technical issues, and uncertainty within future recycled water uses.

Hydrologic Shortcomings of Conventional Urban Stormwater Management and Opportunities for Reform

Author: Burns et al., (2012)
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Hydrologic shortcomings of conventional urban stormwater management and opportunities for reform contrasts two conventional approaches to stormwater, one of which is focused on drainage efficiency (i.e., flood control) and one of which is focused on pollutant-load reduction. The report suggests that stormwater management should address both pollutants and peak flow, and examine more localized stormwater management options that maintain the pre-urban flow rate of rivers.

California Water Plan, Update 2009, Volume 2: Resource Management Strategies

Author: California Department of Water Resources (2009)
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The California Water Plan presents a guide on water management strategies that can provide multiple benefits both regionally and statewide in California. The management strategies are organized by goals, such as reducing water demand, improving operational efficiency, or improving water quality, and the benefits are categorized under water supply, drought preparedness, water quality, operational flexibility, flood impacts, environmental benefits, energy benefits, recreation, and groundwater overdraft risk. The report also includes guidance on the quantitative analysis of multiple benefits for policymakers and water resource managers.

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.

Description and Screening of Potential Tools and Methods to Quantify Public Benefits of Water Storage Projects (Draft Report)

Author: California Department of Water Resources (2012)
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Description and Screening of Potential Tools and Methods to Quantify Public Benefits of Water Storage Projects provides guidance on economic methods and models used to quantify the public benefits of water storage projects. The public benefit categories are defined as ecosystem improvements, water quality improvements, flood control benefits, emergency response, and recreational purposes. The report provides guidance on a suite of economic valuation methods including avoided cost or avoided damage, alternative cost, market prices, hedonic pricing and land value, survey-based, and benefit transfer methods.

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.

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.