Multiple Benefits in Action

Integrating multiple benefits and trade-offs into water decisions can help build partnerships and maximize our investments in water. Learn how the Pacific Institute and our partners are putting this philosophy into action!

If you are a water manager interested in incorporating multiple benefits into your own projects, check out our most recent publication: Incorporating Multiple Benefits into Water Projects: A Guide for Water Managers.

Building Collaboration and Co-Funding through Multiple Benefits

Distributed rainwater catchment systems, such as rain gardens and cisterns, can provide local water supply, flood control benefits, and water quality improvements. In Austin, Texas, the Watershed Protection Department and Austin Water are examining how the Rain Catcher Pilot Program can address localized flooding, water quality, and water supply challenges in the region.

In collaboration with Texas Water Trade and the National Wildlife Federation, we analyzed the co-benefits that could be provided by these systems and explored how multiple benefits can help advance collaboration and cooperation among city agencies, community members, and NGOs.

Learn more here.

Effectively Valuing Water Management and Its Multiple Benefits

Urban stormwater is becoming an increasingly important alternative water supply in California. However, current economic analyses do not adequately evaluate co-benefits provided by different stormwater investments. As a result, urban stormwater capture is undervalued.

This research from the Pacific Institute demonstrates that urban stormwater capture investments may be more economically feasible than expected, especially when capitalizing on economies of scale and incorporating co-benefits of projects.

For more information, check out our blog post, The Stormwater Opportunity (October 18, 2018), discussing innovative policies and funding sources for multi-benefit stormwater capture projects that provide water supply and improve water quality.

Learn more here.  

Leveraging Investments in Water to Achieve Multiple Benefits

In 2017, annual public spending on drinking water and wastewater infrastructure in US reached $113 billion, 96% of which was provided by state and local governments. By examining the co-benefits of water management strategies, policy and decision makers have an opportunity to leverage these investments for additional benefits to people and nature.

The Pacific Institute is engaging with stakeholders in Los Angeles, California to increase consideration of co-benefits as part of regional funding. With the development of the Safe, Clean Water Program (SCWP) in Los Angeles, local and regional entities across LA County are investing millions of dollars in stormwater projects to improve water quality, increase local water supplies, and provide additional benefits to communities and the environment.

In November 2020, researchers at the Pacific Institute submitted a comment letter to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, highlighting opportunities to more meaningfully consider co-benefits as part of funding decisions. 

Engaging with the Private Sector to Achieve Multiple Benefits

Businesses play an important role in our water future, and business properties provide a substantial opportunity to pursue sustainable landscapes.

Sustainable landscapes can provide multiple benefits, including reductions in outdoor water use, mitigation of stormwater runoff and associated pollutants, increased groundwater recharge, and more. The Pacific Institute is partnering with California Forward, the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority (SAWPA), Green Gardens Group (G3), and Water Policy Consultant Martha Davis, to advance sustainable landscapes on commercial, industrial, and institutional sites throughout California’s Santa Ana River Watershed.

In February 2019, we released a report and a blog post examining the opportunities and barriers for business investment in sustainable landscapes. We also created an interactive mapping tool for local stakeholders to identify areas in the Santa Ana River Watershed that have the greatest potential to benefit from sustainable landscape installations on commercial and industrial parcels. Through our in-progress test case, we are examining the potential benefits of these projects to businesses directly, as well as to the local water agencies and the community.

Learn more here.  

Explore the Multi-Benefit Framework


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