63 Multi-Benefit Resources


From ash pond to Riverside Wetlands: Making the business case for engineered natural technologies

Author: Guertin et al., (2018)
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From ash pond to Riverside Wetlands: Making the business case for engineered natural technologies applies a nature valuation framework to a case study on the Tittabawassee River in Michigan. This framework was developed through a partnership with the Dow Chemical Company and the Nature Conservancy to meet a goal of $1 billion in long term value for business projects that improve nature. This article explains the framework and applies it to the Tittabawassee River site.

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.

Recreation Benefits of Instream Flow: Application to Montana’s Big Hole and Bitterroot Rivers

Author: Duffield et al., US Forest Service (1998)
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Recreation Benefits of Instream Flow: Application to Montana’s Big Hole and Bitterroot Rivers uses economic valuation to calculate recreational and downstream energy production benefits. The authors develop an instream valuation framework and apply it to a Montana river case study.

Downstream Economic Benefits of Conservation Development

Author: Johnston et al., University of Illinois (2005)
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Downstream Economic Benefits of Conservation Development uses a case study in Chicago, Illinois to value the benefits of on-site stormwater storage. Johnson et al. uses simulation models to demonstrate these practices can create benefits to downstream properties. They find stormwater storage can reduce construction costs and provide significant benefits in reduced flood damage to downstream properties.

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.

How much water can be captured from flood flows to store in depleted aquifers for mitigating floods and droughts? A case study from Texas, US

Author: Yang & Scanlon, The University of Texas at Austin (2019)
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How much water can be captured from flood flows to store in depleted aquifers for mitigating floods and droughts? A case study from Texas, US presents a case study of the opportunity to capture high magnitude flows from 10 major rivers discharging to the Gulf of Mexico and storage potential in nearby depleted aquifers. This modeling study explores managed aquifer recharge with flood flows as an approach to reducing flooding and addressing water supply challenges during droughts.

Lower Snake River Dams: Economic Tradeoffs of Removal

Author: EconNorthwest (2019)
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The report, Lower Snake River Dams: Economic Tradeoffs of Removal, analyzes the costs and benefits of removing four dams along the lower Snake River in Washington State. The analysis applies economic values to the following benefits and tradeoffs: changes related to hydropower electric grid services, irrigation water supply, transportation along on the river corridor, recreation, and non-use values such as a restored natural river system and reduced extinction risk of wild salmon.

The Napa River Basin, California

Author: Naturally Resilient Communities (2016)
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The Napa River Basin, California provides a short overview of the multi-benefit approach taken by the Napa River communities to mitigate flood risk. The chosen approach deliberately sought not only to reduce the risk and impact of flooding from the Napa River, but also to preserve and restore habitat, reconnect the floodplain, and improve community livability.

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.

Bringing Water and Land Use Together

Author: Local Government Commission (2019)
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Bringing Water and Land Use Together discusses Integrated Regional Water Management. This strategy is similar to the multi-benefit framework and integrates multiple groups of stakeholders to find mutually beneficial solutions to water management issues. The report highlights case studies throughout California that have adopted different integrated management approaches. It provides lists of recommendations for different stakeholders attempting to engage in integrated management.

A Framework for Estimating the Costs and Benefits of Dam Removal

Author: Whitelaw & Macmullen, ECONorthwest (2002)
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A Framework for Estimating the Costs and Benefits of Dam Removal examines the case study of removing dams from the Snake River. The authors use this analysis to provide a list of recommendations for performing a cost benefit analysis on dam removal. They emphasize relying on simplistic endangered species vs endangered jobs can distort calculations and miss other important areas of economic growth.

Recreation Use Values Database

Author: Oregon State University (2016)
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The Recreation Use Values Database catalogs studies that place valuations on recreational activities and the species related to these activities. The database is a downloadable Excel spreadsheet that allows for specific recreational uses and species to be analyzed.

Wiped Out by the ‘Greenwave’: Environmental Gentrification and the Paradoxical Politics of Urban Sustainability

Author: Checker, Queens College CUNY (2011)
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Wiped Out by the ‘Greenwave’: Environmental Gentrification and the Paradoxical Politics of Urban Sustainability examines how profit driven environmental improvements could exacerbate inequities through ethnography in Harlem, New York. Environmental gentrification can be an issue when pursuing green infrastructure (GI) projects. The author suggests making any changes in land use sensitive to cultural activities and historical context.

Just green enough: contesting environmental gentrification in Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Author: Curran & Hamilton, DePaul University (2012)
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Just green enough: contesting environmental gentrification in Greenpoint, Brooklyn is a case study showing the benefits of partnerships between developers, environmentalists, and community members. While development can lead to displacement, there is a space for strategic development that does not negatively alter the neighborhood. Focusing on people’s health instead of aesthetics can protect the character of the neighborhood.

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.

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

Author: Harris-Lovett, Lienert, & Sedlak, 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.

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.

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.

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.

The environmental benefits of water recycling and reuse

Author: Anderson, Dept. of Public Works and Services, Sydney, Australia (2003)
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The environmental benefits of water recycling and reuse presents on the links between water reuse and sustainable water management through the examination of a variety of case studies from Australia. Some case studies included also quantify the environmental benefits of water reuse.

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.

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.

San Francisco Bay Shoreline Adaptation Atlas

Author: San Francisco Estuary Institute, SPUR (2019)
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The San Francisco Bay Shoreline Adaptation Atlas offers practitioners and decision makers in the region a comprehensive, science-based framework for assessing, planning, and designing sea level rise adaptation strategies. The framework organizes adaptation strategies around geographically connected areas, called Operational Landscape Units (OLUs); these OLUs are explained in depth with specific strategies considered for each within the Atlas’ mapping tool.

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: Diringer et al., (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.

Green Cities: Good Health

Author: University of Washington, U.S. Forest Service, and Urban and Community Forestry (N/A)
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Green Cities: Good Health is an online compilation and synthesis of research related to urban green spaces and human health and well-being. The website includes introductory material, summaries of current research into the numerous benefits of urban green space, future research, and a comprehensive list of references.

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.

A Northwest Vision for 2040 Water Infrastructure

Author: Roth & Mazza, 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.

Performance of Two Bioswales on Urban Runoff Management

Author: Xiao et al., (2017)
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This study evaluated the effectiveness of two bioswales eight years after construction in Davis, California. An identically sized control bioswale consisting of non-disturbed native soil was located adjacent to the treatment bioswale. Surface runoff quantity and quality were measured during three experiments with different pollutant loads.

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

Author: Einstein & Litke, 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.

The estimated impact of California’s urban water conservation mandate on electricity consumption and greenhouse gas emissions

Author: Spang, Holguin, & Loge, (2018)
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In The estimated impact of California’s urban water conservation mandate on electricity consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, Spang et al. use the reported water conservation data to assess how the water utilities have responded to the 2015 California water reduction mandate and to estimate the electricity savings and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions associated with reduced operation of urban water infrastructure systems.

Embedded Energy in Water Studies 1, 2 and 3

Author: California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) (2010)
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CPUCs Embedded Energy in Water Studies provide a California statewide assessment of energy use by the water sector and energy use by water customers. There are three separate reports, each including supporting appendices and materials, that document methodology, data collection, case studies, and findings of the investigation.

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.

Informing watershed planning and policy in the Truckee River basin through stakeholder engagement, scenario development, and impact evaluation

Author: Podolak et al., (2017)
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In Informing watershed planning… Podolak et al. evaluate the water quality and water quantity impacts of stream andl and restoration activities in the Truckee River watershed, in the context of regulatory compliance goals. Using the InVEST model to compare stakeholder-determined scenarios of different restoration activities, locations, and investment levels, the results demonstrate how these differences impact water quality outcomes.

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.

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.

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.

OneWaterSF

Author: San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) (2018)
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OneWaterSF is an integrated systems approach adopted by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) that aims to provide greater water and energy resource reliability and resiliency, water infrastructure optimization, and contributions to the livability and sustainability of San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area.The source contains examples of OneWaterSF programs in San Francisco, including a Water Reuse Program, a Resource Recovery and Solar Energy Program, a Stormwater Management Ordinance, and Westside Recycled Water Project and San Francisco Groundwater Project. The benefits cited in these projects and programs include water and energy savings, stormwater management, restoration of watersheds and ecosystems, improvements to community aesthetics, and increased educational opportunities.

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.

Water conservation benefits of urban heat mitigation

Author: Vahmani & Jones, (2017)
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Water conservation benefits of urban heat mitigation examines urban heat mitigation strategies, such as cool roofs, and the impacts on water conservation in California. The study shows that while cool roofs provide significant cooling benefits and life cycle cost savings, they also provide other water-related benefits including decreased outdoor water use by reducing evaporation and irrigation practices. The report argues that cool roofs provide a solution for multiple sectors within California.

Climatic consequences of adopting drought-tolerant vegetation over Los Angeles as a response to California drought

Author: Vahmani & Ban-Weiss, (2016)
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Climatic consequences of adopting drought tolerant vegetation over Los Angeles as a response to California drought utilized a regional climate model to analyze the impacts of drought-tolerant vegetation in Los Angeles. The results revealed that drought-tolerant vegetation contributed to a daytime warming of 1.9 degrees Celsius, largely due to decreases in irrigation, and a nighttime cooling of 3.2 degrees Celsius, due to differences in soil thermodynamics and heat exchange. The report concludes that the greater magnitude of the nighttime cooling could counterbalance the warming effects during the day.

Envision Project Awards Map

Author: Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (N/A)
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Envision Project Awards map contains interactive case studies of projects from across the globe that have received Envision awards for sustainability. Envision is a comprehensive framework of 60 criteria that encompass the full range of environmental, social, and economic impacts and are used to assess project sustainability. These 60 sustainability criteria, called ‘credits’, are arranged in five categories: Quality of Life, Leadership, Resource Allocation, Natural World, and Climate and Risk.

Vision and GIS Case Studies

Author: The Trust for Public Land (N/A)
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Vision and GIS Case Studies presents sixteen case studies that utilized the Trust for Public Land’s Vision and GIS service. The service employs a ‘greenprinting’ tool that uses innovative research and mapping techniques to design parks, protect open space, and deliver community-driven conservation plans. A ‘greenprint’ provides both a long-term vision for conservation and a physical plan to protect a communities precious public spaces. The Trust for Public Land’s services also help communities develop partnerships, inform policies, and attain funding for land conservation efforts.

Water Reuse Project in Virginia Providing Multiple Benefits

Author: U.S. EPA (2015)
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Water Reuse Project in Virginia Providing Multiple Benefits provides an example of an effective water reuse project implemented in the Chesapeake Bay. Historically, treated wastewater in the region was discharged into Chesapeake Bay, the water reuse project redirected this water for beneficial uses such as cooling a waste-to-energy plant and irrigating a ball field and a golf course. The benefits produced by this innovative water reuse project include potable water conservation, reductions in phosphorus and nitrogen pollution, and discounts on water bills.