84 Multi-Benefit Resources


An Analysis of the Energy Intensity of Water in California: Providing a Basis for Quantification of Energy Savings from Water System Improvements

Author: Wilkinson et al., (2006)
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An Analysis of the Energy Intensity of Water in California: Providing a Basis for Quantification of Energy Savings from Water System Improvements analyzes water-related energy use in California. The report examines energy inputs to water systems for: 1) primary water extraction, conveyance, and storage, 2) treatment and distribution within service areas, 3) on-site water pumping, treatment, and thermal inputs, and 4) wastewater collection, treatment, and discharge. The report concludes that “with better information regarding the energy implications of water use, public policy and combined investment and management strategies between energy, water, and wastewater agencies and utilities can be improved.” The benefits cited for these energy savings include avoided capital and operating costs, reduced burden on rate-payers, improved distribution of capital, and environmental benefits.

Developing Scenarios to Assess Ecosystem Service Tradeoffs: Guidance and Case Studies for InVEST Users

Author: McKenzie et al., The Natural Capital Project (2012)
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Developing Scenarios to Assess Ecosystem Service Tradeoffs: Guidance and Case Studies for InVEST Users provides an evaluation of six case studies from across the globe that utilized inVEST to inform policy decisions. InVEST is a software tool for assessing how the location, quantity, and value of ecosystem services change under different scenarios. The tool was developed by the Natural Capital Project, a coalition that works to develop practical ecosystem services concepts and tools, apply these tools around the world to demonstrate the impact of ecosystem service approaches in decisions, and engage thought leaders to advance change in policy and practice. The report includes a discussion on the methodologies used as well as the strengths and challenges that arose with each application of InVEST.

City Resilience Framework

Author: The Rockefeller Foundation, Arup International Development (2015)
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City Resilience Framework provides a framework for analyzing the sustainability of a city. The framework identifies seven qualities of resilient cities (reflective, robust, redundant, flexible, resourceful, inclusive, and integrated) as well as four dimensions of resilient cities: health & wellbeing; economy & society; infrastructure & environment; and leadership & strategy. The report applies the City Resilience Framework to six cities across the globe, where the resiliency of each city was qualitatively analyzed following the four resiliency dimensions.

Milwaukee Green Infrastructure Scenarios Tool

Author: Climate Interactive, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (N/A)
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The Milwaukee Green Infrastructure Scenarios Tool (GIST) helps decision makers to analyze various scenarios and determine the best stormwater management solutions in Milwaukee’s Kinnickinnic River Watershed. The tool recommends the green infrastructure project (i.e., green roofs, bioretention, stormwater trees, porous pavement, etc.) that best provides stormwater management, extreme weather resilience, job generation, aesthetics, and financial savings. The tool provides outputs of system performance measures (i.e., number of overflow events annually), capital and operational costs, and the co-benefits of the project, including improved water quality, energy savings, and increased jobs and property values.

Water Efficiency Rating Score (WERS)

Author: The Green Builder® Coalition (N/A)
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The Water Efficiency Rating Score (WERS) is a tool for predicting water use in new and existing properties. The tool measures indoor water use, including water used in toilets, sinks, clothes washers, showers, and structural waste (water that is wasted when waiting for water to heat up), and scores water use performance on a scale from 0 to 100 (0 being the desired performance). The goal of the tool is to provide validated water use performance scores in order to encourage water conservation efforts.

Green Infrastructure in Parks: A Guide to Collaboration, Funding, and Community Engagement

Author: U.S. EPA (2017)
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Green Infrastructure in Parks: A Guide to Collaboration, Funding, and Community Engagement analyzes green infrastructure projects in parks and the resulting benefits. The report uses case studies to discuss the multiple benefits and encourage cities to invest in green infrastructure projects within their public parks. The multiple benefits cited within the report include recreation value, attractive park features, social and environmental equity, reduced maintenance, drainage, education, water quality, economic benefits, and overall benefits to environment.

Integrated Urban Water Model (IUWM)

Author: One Water Solutions Institute, Colorado State University (N/A)
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Integrated Urban Water Model (IUWM) is a planning tool for urban planners and water managers considering water savings from indoor and outdoor conservation through utilization of alternative water sources including greywater, stormwater, and reclaimed water. The tool utilizes lot size, land use designations, climate information, and soil characteristics to evaluate the impact of land use configurations, climate changes, conservation programs, and alternative water sources on water demands.

Greenprint Resource Hub

Author: The Nature Conservancy, The Conservation Fund, The Trust for Public Land (N/A)
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Greenprint Resource Hub, developed by the Nature Conservancy, is a resource designed to assist managers, policy-makers, and communities on utilizing greenprint in their conservation planning projects. Greenprint is a conservation strategy or tool that addresses economic, environmental, and social benefits of habitats (i.e., grasslands, shrublands, streams, forests, estuaries, wetlands), parks and open spaces (i.e., local parks, state parks, regional trails), complete communities (i.e., healthy residents, green infrastructure), and working lands (i.e., farmlands, grazing lands, timberlands). The resource includes greenprint case studies, a review of best practices, and relevant funding and policies.

Stormwater Financing and Outreach

Author: University of Maryland Environmental Finance Center (N/A)
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Stormwater Financing and Outreach Resources provides resources for stormwater financing in the Chesapeake Bay region. The website includes resources for local government stormwater financing manuals, as well as case studies from specific community stormwater projects in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Additionally, the Stormwater Financing and Outreach Unit offers financing and management support from local, state, and non-governmental organizations.

Green Infrastructure Guide for Water Management

Author: United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), UNEP-DHI Partnership, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), The Nature Conservancy, World Resources Institute (2014)
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Green Infrastructure: Guide for Water Management examines case studies of green infrastructure projects throughout the United States. The report argues that a lack of awareness of the solutions and additional cost benefits that green infrastructure projects can provide is the major barrier to implementation of green infrastructure solutions. The case studies include green infrastructure projects such as green roofs, permeable pavement, levee setbacks, wetland conservation and construction, reforestation and afforestation, and flood bypasses and coastal protection. The case studies cite benefits from the ecosystem service categories (i.e., provisioning services, regulating services, cultural services, habitat or supporting services), providing a qualitative discussion of primary benefits and co-benefits for each case study.

The implications of drought and water conservation on the reuse of municipal wastewater: Recognizing impacts and identifying mitigation possibilities

Author: Tran, Jassby, & Schwabe, (2017)
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The implications of drought and water conservation on the reuse of municipal wastewater: Recognizing impacts and identifying mitigation possibilities illustrates how drought and water conservation strategies, such as water reuse, can lead to a reduction in effluent quantity and quality. The report demonstrates that as influent decreases as a result of drought and water conservation strategies, influent pollution concentrations (especially salinity) and wastewater treatment plant costs increase, ultimately leading to a decrease in effluent quality and flow. The report includes a case study of Southern California’s most recent drought and a water reuse decision support model (RWRM) to mitigate drought impacts on water quality.

One Water Plan

Author: Santa Clara Valley Water District (2017)
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The One Water Plan for the Santa Clara Valley Water District integrates water supply, water quality, and flood control initiatives to promote overall system efficiency. The One Water approach to water resource management is set by the 1) vision, 2) goals, 3) objectives, 4) strategies, and 5) project, program, policy, and partnership. The goals for implementing this integrated stormwater approach include improved water supply reliability and water quality, ecological sustainability, resilient baylands, and community collaboration. This plan acts as a guide for management decisions within the five major basins in Santa Clara County: Guadalupe, Coyote, Uvas/Llagas, Lower Peninsula, and West Valley.

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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.

Envision V3 User Manual

Author: Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (2017)
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The Envision V3 (Draft Credits for Public Review and Comment) user manual outlines additions to the Envision framework, a sustainability framework that aims to analyze infrastructure projects and promote collaboration on multi-benefit projects in order to improve system synergy. The framework defines co-benefits as services not directly related to the project’s primary function, and identifies five benefit categories: 1) quality of life, 2) leadership, 3) resource allocation, 4) natural world, and 5) climate and risk. Envision V3, launched in late 2017, modifies the final category, instead calling it ‘risk and resilience’.

Envision Framework

Author: Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (N/A)
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Envision is a framework that provides the guidance needed to initiate this systemic change in the planning, design and delivery of sustainable and resilient infrastructure. Envision is a decision-making guide, not a set of prescriptive measures. Envision provides industry-wide sustainability metrics for all types and sizes of infrastructure to help users assess and measure the extent to which their project contributes to conditions of sustainability across the full range of social, economic, and environmental indicators.

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.

Assessing Location and Scale of Urban Nonpotable Water Reuse Systems for Life-Cycle Energy Consumption and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Author: Kavvada et al., University of California, Berkeley ReNUWIt (2016)
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Assessing Location and Scale of Urban Nonpotable Water Reuse Systems for Life-Cycle Energy Consumption and Greenhouse Gas Emissions examines nonpotable water reuse at different scales to compare centralized and decentralized systems for energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. The article presents a planning and support tool for determining the optimal scale and treatment technology for reuse in different locations and elevations.

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.

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.

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).

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.

Implications of Future Water Supply Sources for Energy Demands

Author: Cooley & Wilkinson, Pacific Institute, WateReuse Research Foundation (2012)
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Implications of Future Water Supply Sources for Energy Demands describes the Water-Energy Simulator (WESim), an easy-to-use analytical tool for evaluating the energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) implications of water management decisions. In this report, energy is considered for (1) source water extraction, (2) water conveyance, (3) water treatment, (4) water distribution, (5) wastewater collection, and (6) wastewater treatment. WESim can include commercial and residential end uses of water and energy requirements for end uses. The report includes case studies utilizing WESim by the Santa Clara Valley Water District and Denver Water.

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.

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.

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.

Beyond the Source: The environmental, economic and community benefits of source water protection

Author: Abell et al., The Nature Conservancy (2017)
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Beyond the Source is an in-depth, global study conducted by the Nature Conservancy on source water protection projects. In the report these projects are described as “nature-based solutions” that can improve water quality and quantity. Projects include targeted land protection, revegetation, riparian restoration, agricultural best management practices, ranching best management practices, fire risk management, wetland restoration and creation, and road management. The report provides a qualitative framework as well as quantitative guidance for calculating the multiple benefits.

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.

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.

Description and Screening of Potential Tools and Methods to Quantify Public Benefits of Water Storage Projects (Draft Report)

Author: California Department of Water Resources (2012)
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Description and Screening of Potential Tools and Methods to Quantify Public Benefits of Water Storage Projects provides guidance on economic methods and models used to quantify the public benefits of water storage projects. The public benefit categories are defined as ecosystem improvements, water quality improvements, flood control benefits, emergency response, and recreational purposes. The report provides guidance on a suite of economic valuation methods including avoided cost or avoided damage, alternative cost, market prices, hedonic pricing and land value, survey-based, and benefit transfer methods.

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.

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.

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.