65 Multi-Benefit Resources


Rapid Benefit Indicators (RBI) Approach

Author: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (N/A)
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The Rapid Benefit Indicators (RBI) approach allows users to quickly estimate and quantify non-monetary benefits to people around an ecological restoration site. It includes several tools to help users develop and summarize indicators as well as a spatial tool for geographic analysis of benefits.

From brown to green? Assessing social vulnerability to environmental gentrification in New York City

Author: Clark University (2010)
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From brown to green? Assessing social vulnerability to environmental gentrification in New York City uses multiple linear regression to examine which factors determine if environmental improvements lead to gentrification. The report finds populations with low or fixed income such as seniors, people with disabilities, and people dependent on federal assistance can be significantly impacted by environmental gentrification. Areas that were redeveloped adjacent to other desirable amenities such as waterfront access, and easy public transit access experienced higher ecological gentrification.

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

Author: University of California, Berkeley (2018)
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Towards a New Paradigm of Urban Water Infrastructure: Identifying Goals and Strategies to Support Multi-Benefit Municipal Wastewater Treatment examines the decision making barriers to adopting multibenefit solutions. Transitioning to a new paradigm of water management that supports and advances projects with multiple benefits will require new approaches, tools, and systems. This article attempts to identify the obstacles for these new requirements through a study from the San Francisco Bay Area.

Economic Benefits: Metics and Methods for Landscape Performance Assessment

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

Landscape Performance Series

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

Landscape Performance Series: Benefits Toolkit

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

Green Infrastructure Co-Benefits Valuation Tool

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

The environmental benefits of water recycling and reuse

Author: 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.

EnviroAtlas

Author: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (N/A)
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EnviroAtlas is an online mapping and analysis tool by the U.S. EPA that allows users to evaluate the potential impact of proposed infrastructure and policy decisions on human health, the economy, and the environment. Data and other resources are freely available for download.

Restoring Natural Fire Regimes Can Yield More Water Downstream

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

Thermal performance of extensive green roofs in cold climates

Author: 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.

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.

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

Author: (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: (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: (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.

Moving Toward a Multiple Benefits Approach for Water Management

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

NatCap Checker

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

Nature and Health

Author: (2014)
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This article presents the state of knowledge with regards to human health and well-being from contact with nature. The article includes a discussion of the term “nature,” a review of relevant research including linkages between nature and benefits, and the gaps, challenges, methodological approaches that could be used for future research.

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: (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.

Climate Change: Opportunities to Reduce Federal Fiscal Exposure

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

Water Resources Management: Optimizing within a Watershed Context

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

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

Author: (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.

Urban Nature for Human Health and Well-Being

Author: USDA (2018)
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Urban Nature for Human Health and Well-Being summarizes the most recent research on connections between human health and natural urban spaces and features. This paper presents new and ongoing studies that seek to address the quantitative and qualitative impacts of green spaces on human mental, emotional, and physical well-being.

The Green Edge: How Commercial Property Investment in Green Infrastructure Creates Value

Author: 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.

Performance of Two Bioswales on Urban Runoff Management

Author: (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.

The value of public and private green spaces under water restrictions

Author: (2010)
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The value of public and private green spaces under water restrictions analyzes the economic impact of outdoor watering restrictions on private and public landscapes. The results show that outdoor watering restrictions do not have an impact on the value of private landscapes, but may have implications for public landscape usage.

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

Author: Center for Resource Efficient Communities, UC-Berkeley (2017)
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Methods to Assess Co-benefits of California Climate Investments: Water Supply and Availability is a literature review of the different methodologies and approaches to quantifying the water supply and availability benefits from California Climate Investment projects. California Climate Investments are a broad group of projects being pursued across the state to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as wetland restoration and urban tree planting. While the literature review is targeted at California projects, some of the information provided could be applicable more broadly in the U.S.

Co-benefits Assessment Methodology for Water Savings

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

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

Author: (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.

Healthy Lands and Healthy Economies: The multiple benefits of Sonoma County working and natural lands

Author: Sonoma County Ag + Open Space (2018)
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Sonoma County Ag + Open Space presents the results of a thorough economic assessment of the county’s agricultural and natural lands, incorporating the multiple benefits of these landscapes.

Health Lands and Healthy Economies website

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

The Blueprint for Increased Investment in Green Infrastructure

Author: Earth Economics (2018)
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The Blueprint for Increased Investment in Green Infrastructure is a comprehensive resource for water managers and other decision makers seeking to start or expand investment in green infrastructure. The Blueprint presents five major cultural and institutional shifts that are required at the municipal level for the grown in green infrastructure. Data, tools, tips, and other resources are also provided.

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

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

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

Author: (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: (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: (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.

Methods for Evaluating Temporal Groundwater Quality Data and Results of Decadal-Scale Changes in Chloride, Dissolved Solids, and Nitrate Concentrations in Groundwater in the United States, 1988–2010

Author: U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) (2012)
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Methods for Evaluating Temporal Groundwater Quality Data and Results of Decadal-Scale Changes in Chloride, Dissolved Solids, and Nitrate Concentrations in Groundwater in the United States, 1988–2010 analyzes groundwater quality trends in the United States between 1988 and 2010. Samples were extracted in two sampling events (the first event between 1988 and 2000 and the second event between 2001 and 2010) from 1,235 wells residing in 56 well networks in and measurements taken for dissolved solids, chloride, and nitrate. The comparison of the two sampling events revealed significant increases in dissolved solids, chloride, and nitrate concentrations from the 1988-2000 period to the 2001-2010 period.

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

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

Impacts of Urban Water Conservation Strategies on Energy, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, and Health: Southern California as a Case Study

Author: (2016)
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Impacts of Urban Water Conservation Strategies on Energy, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, and Health: Southern California as a Case Study expands on a 2014 health impact assessment of California’s urban water conservation strategies to evaluate the impacts of two possible conservation approaches: banning landscape irrigation and expanding alternative water sources (e.g. recycled water). Findings show that expanding alternative water sources can have a highly positive impact on public health.

Life cycle based analysis of demands and emissions for residential water-using appliances

Author: (2012)
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Life cycle based analysis of demands and emissions for residential water-using appliances focuses on the indirect consumption and environmental impacts from end-use water demand of household appliances. It quantifies the energy and greenhouse gas emissions from three residential water-using appliances using life-cycle analysis.

Accounting for U.S. ecosystem services at national and subnational scales

Author: John Wesley Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis (N/A)
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Accounting for U.S. ecosystem services at national and subnational scales is an ongoing project of the John Wesley Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis to create a natural capital accounting tool within the United States. Natural capital accounting involves the national compilation of data, models, valuation frameworks in order to encourage the protection of natural capital. The project aims to provide quantified and monetized ecosystem services on a national and subnational scale.

Water-quality trends in the nation’s rivers and streams, 1972–2012—Data preparation, statistical methods, and trend results

Author: U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) (2017)
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Water-quality trends in the nation’s rivers and streams, 1972–2012—Data preparation, statistical methods, and trend results analyzes surface water quality trends in the United States. The report includes a discussion of 1) the compilation and processing of water quality data, 2) statistical methods used to analyze the data, 3) modeling considerations, 4) sensitivity analysis, and 5) quantitative results for each site analyzed. The study includes water quality metrics for water quality concentrations and loads (i.e., salinity, sediment, nutrient, major ion, carbon), aquatic habitats (i.e., algae, invertebrates, fish), and pesticide concentrations and loads.

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

Author: (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.

Sustaining California Agriculture in an Uncertain Future

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

Water conservation benefits of urban heat mitigation

Author: (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: (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.

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

Author: (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: (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.