49 Multi-Benefit Resources


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.

Climate Risk Informed Decision Analysis (CRIDA), Collaborative Water Resources Planning for an Uncertain Future

Author: Mendoza et al., UNESCO and International Center for Integrated Water Resources Management (ICIWaRM) (2018)
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Climate Risk Informed Decision Analysis (CRIDA) is a methodology for water resources planning and management when significant uncertainty exists about future conditions. This guidance document adds to the existing water resources management planning literature by providing a coherent and consistent approach for dealing with anticipated but unquantified changes due to “unknown unknowns” such as climate change that impact project planning, socioeconomic justification, resource management, and engineering design.

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.

Towards a New Paradigm of Urban Water Infrastructure: Identifying Goals and Strategies to Support Multi-Benefit Municipal Wastewater Treatment

Author: Harris-Lovett, Lienert, & Sedlak, University of California, Berkeley (2018)
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Towards a New Paradigm of Urban Water Infrastructure: Identifying Goals and Strategies to Support Multi-Benefit Municipal Wastewater Treatment examines the decision making barriers to adopting multibenefit solutions. Transitioning to a new paradigm of water management that supports and advances projects with multiple benefits will require new approaches, tools, and systems. This article attempts to identify the obstacles for these new requirements through a study from the San Francisco Bay Area.

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

Author: Gleick et al., 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.

Healthy Lands and Healthy Economies: The multiple benefits of Sonoma County working and natural lands

Author: Sonoma County Ag + Open Space (2018)
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Sonoma County Ag + Open Space presents the results of a thorough economic assessment of the county’s agricultural and natural lands, incorporating the multiple benefits of these landscapes.

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.

The Green Edge: How Commercial Property Investment in Green Infrastructure Creates Value

Author: Clements & St. Juliana, NRDC (2013)
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This report explores the range of economic benefits that accrue to commercial property owners (including owners of multifamily residential buildings) when they install green infrastructure on their property to improve stormwater management.

Climate information? Embedding climate futures within temporalities of California water management

Author: Baker, Ekstrom, & Bedsworth, (2018)
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Climate information? Embedding climate futures within temporalities of California water management analyzes the use of climate change information in water resources management decisions in California. The information was obtained by conducting interviews (n=61) with drinking water utility managers in California, analyzing three different methodologies for incorporation of climate change information: 1) modeled futures, 2) whose future?, and 3) truncated futures. The interviews revealed that ‘modeled futures’ most closely aligned with supply-demand projections in widely-accepted literature.

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

Author: Sokolow et al., (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.

Achieving Resilience through Water Recycling in Peri-Urban Agriculture

Author: Attwater & Derry, (2017)
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Achieving Resilience through Water Recycling in Peri-Urban Agriculture examines water recycling for agricultural use in the peri-urban regions of Western Sydney, Australia. The study provides a qualitative assessment of the benefits associated with agricultural water reuse of treated wastewater and drinking water in the context of the communities larger water system. The benefits identified include enhanced landscape ecology, environmental risk management, water supply reliability, agricultural products and services, reduced wastewater discharges to receiving waters, provision of ecosystem services, community livelihood, social values, and overall enhanced resilience.

Policy and Economics of Managed Aquifer Recharge and Water Banking

Author: Megdal & Dillion, (2015)
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Policy and Economics of Managed Aquifer Recharge and Water Banking provides a summary of a series of papers on managed aquifer recharge (MAR) programs with excess surface water and recycled water. The paper argues that several limitations to implementation of MAR programs exist, including a deficiency in policies and government frameworks that support MAR programs, as well as limited economic analyses on MAR’s programs. The goal of this summary report is to fill these regulatory and economic gaps so as to encourage MAR program development and implementation.

Relevance and Benefits of Urban Water Reuse in Tourist Areas

Author: Lazarova, Sturny, & Sang, (2012)
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Relevance and Benefits of Urban Water Reuse in Tourist Areas presents a case study on factors that influenced the implementation of water reuse on the island of Bora Bora, French Polynesia. The study addresses the regulatory and technical challenges to implementation of water reuse systems, as well as provides methods for overcoming these challenges through the Bora Bora case study. The report emphasizes the need for reliability in treatment operations, feasible prices and operation costs, and effective utilization of the co-benefits of water reuse projects.

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.

Green Remediation: Incorporating Sustainable Environmental Practices into Remediation of Contaminated Sites

Author: U.S. EPA Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (2008)
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Green Remediation: Incorporating Sustainable Environmental Practices into Remediation of Contaminated Sites contains fourteen case studies conducted throughout the United States that incorporated sustainable environmental practices into remediation of contaminated sites. The report names this strategy ‘green remediation’ and defines it as, “the practice of considering all environmental effects of remedy implementation and incorporating options to maximize net environmental benefit of cleanup actions”. The case studies provide examples of how green remediation strategies can increase the net benefit of cleanup, provide project cost savings, and expand the universe of long-term property use or reuse options without compromising cleanup goals.

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.

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.

The Value of Water Supply Reliability in the Residential Sector

Author: Raucher et al., WateReuse Research Foundation, Bureau of Reclamation, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (2006)
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The Value of Water Supply Reliability in the Residential Sector describes residential customer’s willingness to pay for improving water reliability. The ‘stated preference’ surveys revealed that residential customers were willing to pay in the range of $20-$40 per year to improve water supply reliability and avoid relatively severe water use restrictions, but are not willing to pay as much to reduce low-level water use restrictions. The survey also revealed that water reuse had large customer support, whereas raising water rates and increasing water imports did not have much support.

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.

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.

Drivers for and against municipal wastewater recycling: A review

Author: Kunz et al., (2016)
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Drivers for and against municipal wastewater recycling: A review provides a comprehensive review of drivers for and against wastewater recycling at different scales, identifying more than 150 unique social, economic, business, policy, technical, and natural drivers. The report provides a framework that categorizes studies according to level of analysis (i.e., city, state, country, global) and outcomes explored (i.e., program implementation, percentage of water demand covered by recycled water), and then identifies whether the study was for or against recycled water use, and the drivers for this opinion (i.e. social, natural, technical, economic, policy, or business).

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.

The Hidden Value of Landscapes: Implications for Drought Planning

Author: Johnson, Koski, & O'Connor, Colorado State University (2017)
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The Hidden Value of Landscapes: Implications for Drought Planning analyzes the impacts of landscaping on quality of life, environment, and land values in Colorado. The report illustrates that while landscaping can provide the primary goal of drought relief, it also provides a suite of co-benefits. These benefits include environmental benefits (i.e., air quality, carbon sequestration, cooling effects, stormwater management, and wildlife habitat), increased real estate value, and enhanced community and health.

Why Do Some Water Utilities Recycle More than Others? A Qualitative Comparative Analysis in New South Wales, Australia

Author: Kunz et al., (2015)
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Why Do Some Water Utilities Recycle More than Others? A Qualitative Comparative Analysis in New South Wales, Australia provides a comparative analysis of drivers for water reuse at 25 different utilities in New South Wales, Australia. The statistical method employed is able to evaluate the influence of six different factors on two specific outcomes: 1) agricultural use and 2) industrial, municipal, and commercial use. They found that factors relating to economics are important for industrial, municipal, and commercial use, and factors relating to water stress and geographic proximity are important for agricultural use.

Policy settings, regulatory frameworks and recycled water schemes

Author: Institute for Sustainable Futures (2013)
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Policy settings, regulatory frameworks and recycled water schemes analyzes eight water recycling case studies conducted internationally to illustrate how the associated project investment decisions are influenced by regulations and legal frameworks. The main focus areas are environmental protection of receiving waters, water security, developer charges, and recycled water scheme regulation to protect public health. Within each of these areas, various co-benefits are discussed.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Berkeley Resilience Strategy

Author: City of Berkeley, 100 Resilient Cities, AECOM (2016)
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100 Resilient Cities is an organization working across the globe to help plan for more resilient and successful cities. The Resilience Framework guides users towards projects that provide overall system and infrastructure resilience, often including water systems and infrastructure. The report includes a case study on Berkeley, California’s goal of adapting to climate change through green infrastructure, diversifying their water supply, and sustainable landscapes. The Resilience Framework yields a qualitative measure of ‘city resilience’, defined as “the ability of the individuals, institutions, businesses, and systems within the community to survive, adapt, and grow no matter what chronic stress or acute shock it experiences.”

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.

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.