123 Multi-Benefit Resources


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

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

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

Author: 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.

A mixed-methods approach to strategic planning for multi-benefit regional water infrastructure

Author: University of California, Berkeley (2019)
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A mixed-methods approach to strategic planning for multi-benefit regional water infrastructure presents a mix-methods approach for strategic planning to achieve multi-benefit outcomes. This approach can be used with stakeholders to identify agreements and to clarify technical and future uncertainties. The research was conducted using a case study in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Economic Benefits: Metics and Methods for Landscape Performance Assessment

Author: Utah State University (2016)
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The Economic Benefits: Metrics and Methods for Landscape Performance Assessment presents a method and standard metrics for assessing the economic benefits of landscapes. This method and the associated metrics can be used to increase the scientific rigor of landscape architecture and to help achieve high(er) levels of sustainability in the built environment. Three test cases are used to demonstrate the utility of the method.

Landscape Performance Series

Author: Landscape Architecture Foundation (N/A)
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The Landscape Performance Series is a compilation of case studies, fact sheets, and a Benefits Toolkit, to support sustainable landscape design. It is available for designers, agencies, and advocates to help evaluate performance, show value, and make the case for landscapes.

Landscape Performance Series: Benefits Toolkit

Author: Landscape Architecture Foundation (N/A)
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The Benefits Toolkit, housed in the Landscape Performance Series, lists calculators and tools that directly help with quantifying the benefits of landscapes. Users can filter results by “Landscape Performance Benefit” including several options for water-related benefits.

Water Funds Toolbox

Author: The Nature Conservancy (N/A)
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The Water Fund Toolbox provides a wide variety of resources, case studies, tools, etc. for groups seeking to create or advance the work of a Water Fund. A Water Fund is an organization that designs and enhances financial and governance mechanisms which unite public, private, and civil society stakeholders around a common goal to contribute to water security through nature-based solutions and sustainable water management.

Green Infrastructure Co-Benefits Valuation Tool

Author: Earth Economics, GI Exchange (2019)
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The Green Infrastructure Co-benefits Valuation Tool is intended to provide a framework, methods, and values to support rapid screening-level analysis of the costs and benefits associated with a range of GI investments. The tool itself is based in Microsoft Excel and comes with a users guide and fact sheet.

Measuring Benefits of Distributed, Nature-Based Stormwater Projects

Author: The River Project (2018)
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Measuring Benefits of Distributed, Nature-Based Stormwater Projects explores a variety of factors relevant to the assessment of distributed, nature-based stormwater projects. This report provides a useful discussion around definitions of terms, typology, scale, and other important factors related to the comparison of green, grey, and green/grey infrastructure.

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.

Moving Toward a Multiple Benefits Approach for Water Management

Author: (2019)
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The Pacific Institute’s report, Moving Toward a Multiple Benefits Approach for Water Management, proposes a framework for systematically identifying and incorporating the multiple benefits and trade-offs of water management strategies into decision-making processes. The framework can help users broaden support for a policy or project; identify opportunities to share costs among project beneficiaries; minimize adverse and unintended consequences; optimize the investment of time, money, and other resources; and increase transparency associated with water management decisions.

NatCap Checker

Author: Natural Capital Coalition (2019)
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The NatCap Checker is a tool by the Natural Capital Coalition, created to help organizations make more informed decisions that help conserve and enhance the natural capital that we all depend upon. It is a self-assessment tool that enables practitioners to assess, communicate, and improve the level of confidence in their natural capital assessments.

Natural Infrastructure in the Nexus

Author: IUCN, International Water Association, World Resources Institute (2015)
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This paper discusses how natural infrastructure, the networks of land and water that provide services to people, can help decision makers and infrastructure managers address interconnected challenges facing water, energy, and food systems, often referred to as the “nexus.” The paper examines reasons and ways to include natural infrastructure in this nexus, challenges that have prevented increased investment in natural infrastructure, and recommendations for moving forward.

Climate Change: Opportunities to Reduce Federal Fiscal Exposure

Author: U.S. Government Accountability Office (2019)
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The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released an analysis of the economic costs and benefits of climate change to U.S. sectors and regions. This report focuses on the fiscal exposure faced by the U.S. federal government to climate change risks.

Water Resources Management: Optimizing within a Watershed Context

Author: (2007)
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This resource provides an explanation of a model that was developed to evaluate a broad range of technical, economic, and policy management options within a watershed context. Inputs to the model include water quantity and water quality, with outputs including flow and concentrations. The authors hypothesize that this model will help to demonstrate the value of a wide variety of water management options and support integrated water resources management decisions.

Restoring Natural Fire Regimes Can Yield More Water Downstream

Author: University of California, Berkeley (2019)
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Research from Yosemite National Park provides a new understanding of one of the potential benefits of restoring a forest’s natural fire regime: more downstream flow and less water stress. Since the 1970s one watershed in Yosemite has been managed to allow for a natural fire regime, leading to a reduction in vegetation density across the basin. Their findings from modeling differences in water stress and downstream flow suggest that fire suppression would have led to increased water stress and decreased downstream flows as compared to the current management strategy of allowing for natural fires.

A Northwest Vision for 2040 Water Infrastructure

Author: Center for Sustainable Infrastructure (2017)
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In A Northwest Vision for 2040 Water Infrastructure the Center for Sustainable Infrastructure presents a vision for the future of water management for the Northwestern U.S. The vision describes how Northwest communities can develop integrated, sustainable, and resilient water systems that address water quality, water supply, and flooding. The report is full of qualitative descriptions of the benefits of this more sustainable and equitable vision and provides numerous real-world examples of how and where Northwest communities are already working towards this future.

Multisolving

Author: Climate Interactive (N/A)
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Multisolving is a concept developed by the Climate Interactive that provides an approach for finding systematic solutions that protect the climate while also improving health, equity, and well-being. The concept rests on the foundation that solutions to climate change will not only reduce carbon or sequester greenhouse gases, but will also contribute to attractive and livable communities that are more equitable and just for all. Multisolving is finding solutions that solve multiple problems with a single intervention. The website contains reports, tools, applications, case studies and more.

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

Author: 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.

Co-benefits Assessment Methodology for Water Savings

Author: California Air Resources Board (2018)
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Co-benefits Assessment Methodology for Water Savings presents three different water co-benefit assessment methods for three types of projects from the California Climate Investments. The three project types are agricultural irrigation, residential, commercial, or institutional water efficiency, and urban landscaping. The assessment methods are presented from a California perspective, however, the same methods could be applied in different locations with appropriate modifications for climate and other relevant factors.

From Projects to Portfolios: Mainstreaming Large-Scale Investment in Integrated Infrastructure

Author: Earth Economics (2018)
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The report From Projects to Portfolios by Earth Economics is a helpful guide and resource for municipal, NGO, and charitable organizations seeking to advance investment in integrated, also known as green, infrastructure. The report is structured to be used as a quick reference guide, or a more in-depth resource, complete with detailed appendices and online links to additional materials.

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.

Health Lands and Healthy Economies website

Author: Sonoma County Ag + Open Space (N/A)
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This is the landing page for Sonoma County Ag + Open Space Health Lands & Healthy Economies program. This website includes links to many resources on multi-benefit valuation of agricultural and natural lands.

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: (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.

Top 22 Benefits of Trees

Author: TreePeople (2019)
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This website, Top 22 Benefits of Trees, provides an overview of the top benefits provided by trees, which include, but are not limited to, saving water, preventing water pollution, and many other benefits.

Sustainable Landscapes in the Santa Ana River Watershed

Author: Pacific Institute (2019)
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The Sustainable Landscapes in the Santa Ana River Watershed map is an interactive tool that allows users to explore potential benefits of sustainable landscaping practices across the Santa Ana River Watershed.

Valuing investments in sustainable land management in the Upper Tana River basin, Kenya

Author: (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.

Review of decision support tools to operationalize the ecosystem services concept

Author: (2017)
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The journal article, Review of decision support tools to operationalize the ecosystem services concept, provides a synthesis of a broad array of 68 different tools that have been applied to ecosystem services analyses. They report and discuss the geographic scope, spatial scale, and policy application of the case studies for which these tools were applied.

Sustainability and the U.S. EPA, Chapter 4: Sustainability Assessment and Management: Process, Tools, and Indicators

Author: National Research Council (2011)
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Sustainability Assessment and Management: Process, Tools, and Indicators provides an overview on how to approach sustainability assessment and management. The book chapter includes guidance on 1) problem definition, planning and scoping, 2) selected sustainability tools and their applications, 3) tradeoff analysis, 4) communication of results to decision makers, and 5) stakeholder engagement and collaboration. The section on sustainability tools includes discussions on various environmental assessment techniques including risk assessment, life-cycle assessment, benefit-cost analysis, ecosystem services valuation, integrated assessment models, sustainability impact assessment, and environmental justice tools.

SCORE: Multi-Criteria Analysis (MCA) for Sustainability Appraisal of Remedial Alternatives

Author: (2013)
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SCORE: Multi-Criteria Analysis (MCA) for Sustainability Appraisal of Remedial Alternatives is a tool used to evaluate the sustainability of a remediation management strategy. The report provides guidance on 1) project boundaries, 2) temporal and spatial scales, 3) indicator selection, and 4) uncertainty analysis. The benefits considered include environmental benefits (i.e., soil, groundwater, surface water, air, waste, sediment, and non-renewable natural resources) and social benefits (i.e., environmental quality and amenity, health and safety, culture, equity). The model can compile qualitative and quantitative estimations of indicators and provide a full uncertainty analysis using Monte Carlo simulation.

Multi-criteria decision analysis in environmental sciences: Ten years of applications and trends

Author: (2011)
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Multi-criteria decision analysis in environmental sciences: Ten years of applications and trends examines the use of multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) for environmental applications within the past decade. The literature review revealed that there has been significant growth in MCDA application within environmental practices. The review also found parallels between applications of MCDA across similar projects, suggesting that MCDA has been applied consistently within cases reviewed.

From comparative risk assessment to multi-criteria decision analysis and adaptive management: Recent developments and applications

Author: (2006)
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From comparative risk assessment to multi-criteria decision analysis and adaptive management: Recent developments and applications provides a summary of regulatory frameworks in the United State and Europe. The paper also proposes a new decision-making framework that combines multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) with adaptive management strategies and significant stakeholder engagement. The report includes an application of the framework to a sediment restoration project in the New York/New Jersey Harbor.

SEEA-Water System of Environmental-Economic Accounting for Water

Author: United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Statistics Division (2012)
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SEEA-Water System of Environmental-Economic Accounting for Water is a qualitative and comprehensive framework that aids in the organization of hydrologic and economic information. The goal of the framework is to obtain consistent and comprehensive data collection that will allow for the analysis of natural resource contribution to the economy, and vice versa, the economies impacts on natural resources. The database can be used to inform management decisions, policy, and research in order to protect valuable natural capital globally.

System of National Accounts 2008

Author: European Commission, International Monetary Fund, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), United Nations, The World Bank (2008)
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System of National Accounts 2008 is a qualitative and comprehensive framework that aids in the organization of economic data from across the globe. The goal of the framework is to provide a consistent and comprehensive economic database that can inform management decisions, policy, and research. The System of National Accounts is created for all countries and therefore accounts for all demographics and stages of economic development. The system also includes a methodology for environmental accounting that focuses on the utilization of natural resources and the pollution of natural resources.

System of Environmental-Economic Accounting 2012 Central Framework

Author: United Nations, European Union, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), The World Bank (2014)
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System of Environmental-Economic Accounting 2012 Central Framework is a qualitative and comprehensive framework that aids in the organization of environmental and economic data from across the globe. The goal of the framework is to provide a consistent and comprehensive database that will allow for the analysis of natural resource contribution to the economy, and vice versa, the economies impacts on natural resources. The framework approaches data collection from an economic perspective, including information for natural inputs, environmental assets, and residual flows; the complementary document, System of Environmental-Economic Accounting 2012 Experimental Ecosystem Accounting, approaches data collection from an environmental perspective. The database can be used to inform management decisions, policy, and research, as well as track progress towards global sustainability goals.

System of Environmental-Economic Accounting 2012 Experimental Ecosystem Accounting

Author: United Nations, European Union, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), World Bank Group (2014)
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System of Environmental-Economic Accounting 2012 Experimental Ecosystem Accounting is an addition to the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting 2012 Central Framework. Where the Central Framework approaches data collection from an economic perspective, the Experimental Ecosystem Accounting framework approaches data collection from an environmental perspective and analyzes its interactions with the economy. The Central Framework and Experimental Ecosystem Accounting frameworks can be used in conjunction to provide a comprehensive description of the interactions between the environment, economy, and human activity.

Determining the Economic Value of Water: Concepts and Methods

Author: (2014)
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Determining the Economic Value of Water: Concepts and Methods provides a comprehensive summary of economic valuation techniques used for water management strategies. The book includes a framework for economic valuation of the primary and secondary benefits of water investments, including improved water quality, enhanced fish habitats, and recreation benefits. Non-market valuation techniques are discussed for the valuation of difficult to quantify public benefits. The book also includes an analysis of the various valuation techniques, examining specific applications, limitations, and advantages of each technique.

Progress Toward Establishing a National Assessment of Water Availability and Use

Author: U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) (2013)
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Progress Toward Establishing a National Assessment of Water Availability and Use discusses the need for a National Water Census within the United States. The goal of the Water Census would be to provide a comprehensive database that would inform managers and decision-makers on the water availability and water quality in the nation. The report illustrates the framework through various regional and national applications. The report also asserts that in order for a Water Census to be successful, there must be sufficient collaboration between organizations and agencies.

FLOWER: Framework for Long-Term, Whole-System, Equity-Based Reflection

Author: Climate Interactive (2017)
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FLOWER: Framework for Long-Term, Whole-System, Equity-Based Reflection is a decision-making framework for “multisolving,” or systematically examining climate solutions that provide multiple benefits. Areas that are examined include “Climate Protection” at the center, and petals of Food and Water; Jobs and Assets; Health, Well-being, and Safety; Connection; Energy Industry and Mobility; and Resilience. The shading on the petals aims to illustrate the equity aspect of a project, with uniform shading signifying complete equity, heavy shading on the outer edge of the petal signifying benefits only to marginalized populations, and heavy shading in the center of the petal signifying benefits for only the more privileged members of society.

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: 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.

Water Risk Monetizer

Author: Ecolab Inc. (2017)
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Water Risk Monetizer is a tool developed by Ecolab Inc. that assesses water-related business risks. Using local basin data and economic analysis techniques, the tool provides the user with risk metrics for incoming water quantity and quality, as well as outgoing water quality. The purpose of this tool is to inform companies on their water-related risks in order to encourage investment into water conservation. The tool is available online and is free to use.

Smart Water Management for Business Growth: Integrating Water Risk into Business Decision Making

Author: Ecolab Inc. (2017)
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This is the white paper published by Ecolab in conjunction with the Water Risk Monetizer tool. The report contains an explanation of the tool, an evolution of water risk analysis, the water risk framework applied in the tool, methodology, and limitations.

Sustaining California Agriculture in an Uncertain Future

Author: Pacific Institute (2009)
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Sustaining California Agriculture in an Uncertain Future examines the potential for agricultural efficiency in California. The report qualitatively and quantitatively explores the potential for water conservation and efficiency under the following management strategies: 1) efficient irrigation technology, 2) improved irrigation scheduling, and 3) regulated deficit irrigation. All three options show significant water savings as well as provide various co-benefits including, reduced water and energy costs, improved crop quality and yield,improved soil health, reduced vulnerability to drought, increased revenues, improved water quality, improved quantity and timing of instream flows, and fish and wildlife benefits.

One Water Roadmap: The Sustainable Management of Life’s Most Essential Resource

Author: US Water Alliance (2016)
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One Water Roadmap: The Sustainable Management of Life’s Most Essential Resource provides a comprehensive “One Water” framework for the United States. The report is divided into three sections: 1) a discussion on the current landscape of water issues, 2) a discussion of the vision and foundational features of the One Water approach, and 3) a discussion of current successes in utilizing the One Water approach and further improvements. The qualitative framework encompasses a broad range of management strategies and provides guidance for all sectors.

CUWCC Direct Utility Avoided Cost Model and Environmental Benefits Model Download Page

Author: Alliance for Water Efficiency (2007)
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The CUWCC Direct Utility Avoided Cost Model and Environmental Benefits Model is a tool developed by the California Urban Water Conservation Council (CUWCC) in order to improve water use efficiency. The model uses the avoided cost economic valuation method in order to estimate the potential savings of water use efficiency improvements. The resource provides a downloadable version of the valuation tool, the methodology, and examples of the tool being utilized.

WaterSET

Author: (2016)
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WaterSET is a triple bottom line assessment tool developed by WRF (Reuse-14-03) that compares different water supply options to direct potable reuse (DPR). The report, ‘Methodology for a Comprehensive Analysis (Triple Bottom Line) of Alternative Water Supply Projects Compared to Direct Potable Reuse’, describes the methodology behind the WaterSET tool. While the WaterSET tool is more oriented towards urban contexts, many of the principles and benefits associated with the water supplies assessed in Reuse-14-03 are relevant to agricultural contexts (Reuse-16-06). The report and tools developed as part of Reuse-14-03 were recently released and are currently being reviewed by the Reuse-16-06 project team.

Impacts of desalination plant discharges on the marine environment: A critical review of published studies

Author: (2010)
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Impacts of desalination plant discharges on the marine environment: A critical review of published studies provides a qualitative review of the environmental impacts of desalination plants across the globe. The literature review revealed that the most detrimental environmental impacts have resulted from older multi-stage flash (MSF) plants as a result of the large amounts of discharge with little flushing. The negative environmental impacts cited include increased water salinity and temperatures, as well as the deposition of hydrocarbons, metals, and toxic compounds. The literature review also revealed that selected discharge location directly influenced the severity of environmental impacts.

Integrated Water Management Resource Center

Author: American Rivers (N/A)
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Integrated Water Management Water Resources Center is a guide to American Rivers’ integrated water resources management, or ‘One Water’ approach. The American Rivers’ integrated approach includes a circular process of 1) identification of the approach, 2) understanding co-benefits, 3) identification of the suitable tools, 4) development of a stakeholder strategy, 5) implementation of the strategy, and 6) monitoring, evaluating, and adapting. This approach involves communication and collaboration throughout the entire process. The website contains numerous links to documents, websites, and video files that help support the many aspects of an integrated water resources management approach.