133 Multi-Benefit Resources


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.

Greenhouse Gas and Energy Co-Benefits of Water Conservation

Author: Maas, Polis Project (2009)
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Greenhouse Gas and Energy Co-Benefits of Water Conservation examines the multiple benefits that are produced from the “water-energy nexus”. The benefits include indirect energy savings from municipal water and wastewater provision, indirect and direct energy use, and embedded energy for chemical manufacturing. The report includes example case studies conducted on various scales (program, municipal, provincial, and community levels), as well as provides methodologies for the quantification of the cited energy benefits.

Techno-economic assessment and environmental impacts of desalination technologies

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Adapting to Change: Utility Systems and Declining Flows

Author: California Urban Water Agencies (2017)
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Adapting to Change: Utility Systems and Declining Flows explores the consequences of reduced indoor flows related to conservation on urban water supply systems in California. The report illustrates that demand management through water use efficiency can have many co-benefits including improved drought resilience, improved in-stream flows, reduced or deferred cost of infrastructure, and reduced energy costs; declining flows, however, can negatively impact water distribution, conveyance, wastewater treatment, and recycled water policy. Specific examples and details are presented within the report, including survey and interview data.

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.

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.”

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.”

Water Efficiency for Instream Flow: Making the Link in Practice

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

Putting Green to Work: Economic Recovery Investments for Clean and Reliable Water

Author: American Rivers (2010)
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Putting Green to Work: Economic Recovery Investments for Clean and Reliable Water categorizes “green” and “bright green” projects that provide multiple environmental and economic benefits, including improved water quality and quantity, reduced runoff and flooding, groundwater recharge, improved habitats, reduced energy use, and overall water supply reliability. The report focuses primarily on green infrastructure and demand management projects, as well as leveraging natural capital for water management, including examples from specific states and cities with a focus on funding projects. The report provides a qualitative discussion of the multiple benefits.

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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.