32 Multi-Benefit Resources


Environmental Valuation Reference Inventory

Author: Canadian Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (2019)
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The Environmental Valuation Reference Inventory compiles over 5,000 studies of economic valuations of environmental health and services. It allows you to filter for type of document, area of study, environmental assets, economic measures, and other categories to find valuations of specific use to projects. To access the resource, you have to create a free account to log in.

Renaturing cities using a regionally-focused biodiversity-led multifunctional benefits approach to urban green infrastructure

Author: Connop et al., Sustainability Research Institute (2016)
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This article, “Renaturing cities using a regionally-focused biodiversity-led multifunctional benefits approach to urban green infrastructure,” considers the biodiversity outcomes of case studies in three locations in Europe. The authors discuss the “multifunctional” design in these three case studies and conclude it is effective at improving biodiversity in urban settings.

Economics for the Environment Project Page

Author: Economics for the Environment (2019)
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The Economics for the Environment Project Page provides summaries of several case studies and economic valuations for natural resources in the United Kingdom. Projects include analysis of natural flood management, economic valuation of urban natural capital, and chemical usage in watersheds.

Inclusive Urban Ecological Restoration in Toronto, Canada

Author: Newman, Center for Resource Economics (2011)
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Inclusive Urban Ecological Restoration in Toronto, Canada explores the ways improving diversity in park management could benefit Toronto communities. Involving more racial groups in projects has many unrecognized benefits. For example, it can help undo racial stereotypes that parks and natural spaces are only for white people. It can also make people who live in these communities more visible. Communities can also be empowered by being included in ecological projects. By involving minority groups from the beginning of a project, the project is more sustainable in the long term.

Planning for inclusive urban ecological restoration

Author: Newman, Earthsake (2014)
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Planning for inclusive urban ecological restoration highlights some of the myths conservation managers might have about minority participation. It highlights how barriers such as only relying on volunteers and inaccessible comment periods make it challenging for diverse groups of people to participate even if they have interest in the project. The report claims conservation has a particular cultural perspective and may have different priorities than other cultural perspectives.

Thermal performance of extensive green roofs in cold climates

Author: Liu & Baskaran, National Research Council Canada (2005)
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In this study, the performance of two extensive green roofs located in the City of Toronto, Ontario, Canada was monitored. The green roofs varied in system components, types and depths of growing medium, vegetation coverage and types of roofing systems. The green roofs were instrumented with sensor networks to provide thermal performance data.

Perceived species-richness in urban green spaces: Cues, accuracy and well-being impacts

Author: Southon et al., (2018)
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The authors of Perceived species-richness in urban green spaces…explore the impact of creating biodiverse landscapes within an urban space on users of that space. They assess the impacts of biodiversity on user health and well-being and on factors affecting health and well-being.

Psychological benefits of greenspace increase with biodiversity

Author: Fuller et al., (2007)
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Psychological benefits of greenspace increase with biodiversity provides evidence that suggests that psychological benefits of greenspace increase with species richness. They argue that their findings indicate that successful management of urban greenspaces should emphasize biological complexity for human health and well-being.

Biodiverse perennial meadows have aesthetic value and increase residents’ perceptions of site quality in urban green-space

Author: Southon et al., (2017)
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Researches used photos and as well as actual urban green spaces converted to meadows to evaluate perceptions of visitors to these spaces in southern England. Perennial meadows increased perceived quality and appreciation of urban green space, with visitors showing a higher preference for meadows with higher plant and structural diversity.

Neighborhood greenspace and health in a large urban center

Author: Kardan et al., (2015)
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This study links tree density in an urban center (Toronto, Canada) to results of a health survey using statistical methods. The findings indicate that more trees improve health perception and health outcomes.

Modelling Spatiotemporal Dynamics of Large Wood Recruitment, Transport, and Deposition at the River Reach Scale during Extreme Floods

Author: Zischg et al., (2018)
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Modelling Spatiotemporal Dynamics of Large Wood Recruitment, Transport, and Deposition at the River Reach Scale during Extreme Floods presents a modelling exercise to evaluate the dynamics of large woody debris during flooding events. This technical assessment can provide decision makers with another method for evaluating the tradeoffs between flood risks and riparian health from large woody debris in stream systems.

On Spatially Distributed Hydrologic Ecosystem Services: Bridging the Quantitative Information Gap Using Remote Sensing and Hydrological Models

Author: Simons et al., (2017)
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The white paper, On Spatially Distributed Hydrologic Ecosystem Services, provides an explanation of and use case examples for a hydrologic ecosystem services model. This is a useful resource for quantification of water-related ecosystem services.The model is spatially and temporally designed for basin-scale analyses.

Opportunities for natural infrastructure to improve urban water security in Latin America

Author: Tellman et al., (2018)
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Opportunities for natural infrastructure to improve urban water security in Latin America offers a continent-scale analysis of ecosystem services provided by watershed conservation and other land management activities. The authors present a method for assessing the potential for watershed conservation activities to improve surface drinking water quality and mitigate flood risks.

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.

Case Study Fluvial and ecosystem restoration of the Arga-Aragón Rivers systems by combining measures

Author: Natural Water Retention Measures (NWRM) (2013)
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Case Study: Fluvial and ecosystem restoration of the Arga-Aragon Rivers systems by combining measures details the process and implementation of watershed restoration along the Arga-Aragon Rivers systems with the goal of reducing flood impacts and restoring habitat functions. The report provides measures involving wetlands, floodplains, re-meandering, riverbeds, revitalization of flowing water, natural bank stabilization, elimination of riverbank protection, and riparian buffers. The costs of the project, including the amount of money required to reimburse farmers for lost land are included.

Seawater desalination and serum magnesium concentrations in Israel

Author: Koren et al., (2017)
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Seawater desalination and serum magnesium concentrations in Israel examines the impact of drinking desalinated water on body magnesium levels in Israel. The study collected data for body magnesium levels in a large population (n = 66,764) before and after desalinated water consumption. The results revealed that body magnesium levels increased significantly in people who drank desalinated water.

Desalinated seawater supply and all-cause mortality in hospitalized acute myocardial infarction patients from the Acute Coronary Syndrome Israeli Survey 2002-2013

Author: Shlezinger et al., (2016)
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Desalinated seawater supply and all-cause mortality in hospitalized acute myocardial infarction patients from the Acute Coronary Syndrome Israeli Survey 2002-2013 examines the effects of consuming desalinated water on hypomagnesemia and cardiovascular health in Israeli communities. The study presents data on rates of mortality in patients who came from regions that used desalinated water for drinking water compared to patients who came from regions that did not use desalinated water. Before the use of desalinated water, rates of mortality were the same in both regions, however, after use of desalinated water in one region, rates of mortality were higher in the region using desalinated water for drinking water.

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.

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.

Leveraging Sustainable Irrigated Agriculture via Desalination: Evidence from a Macro-Data Case Study in Israel

Author: Raveh & Ben-Gal, (2018)
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Leveraging Sustainable Irrigated Agriculture via Desalination: Evidence from a Macro-Data Case Study in Israel examines the effects of desalinated water on agricultural crops in Israel. The study presents data on salt levels in different agricultural crops before and after watering with desalination plant water. The results showed measurable and significant decreases in sodium (Na), chloride (Cl), and magnesium (Mg) compared to when the crops were watered using irrigation. This reduction of salts in the crops provides a benefit because the high levels of salts in irrigated water sources was causing crop health issues.

Association between exposure to desalinated sea water and ischemic heart disease, diabetes mellitus and colorectal cancer; A population-based study in Israel

Author: Shlezinger et al., (2018)
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Association between exposure to desalinated sea water and ischemic heart disease, diabetes mellitus and colorectal cancer; A population-based study in Israel presents data on the impacts of drinking desalinated water on ischemic heart disease, diabetes mellitus, and colorectal cancer in Israel. The results revealed a significant increase in ischemic heart disease in the populations that consumed desalinated water as their primary drinking water source. It is hypothesized that this increase is due to lowered levels of magnesium found in desalinated water.

Making better recycled water investment decisions: Shifts happen

Author: Institute for Sustainable Futures (2013)
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Making better recycled water investment decisions: Shifts happen compiles the lessons learned from eight water recycling project case studies conducted internationally. The particular focus is on the business-related risks and uncertainties over the life of the water recycling project. The report identifies ways to make better water investment decisions to enhance the benefits and minimize the costs of water recycling.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.