Multiple Benefits of Water Investment Strategies

Thank you for your interest in Pacific Institute’s continuing work on developing a framework to consistently evaluate multiple benefits of water investment strategies. This project is on-going, and this webpage will be updated regularly as more deliverables become available. For more information, please contact Sarah Diringer, Senior Researcher, at sdiringer [at] pacinst.org.

Project Goal

The Pacific Institute – in collaboration with a diverse team of stakeholders – seeks to expand the usefulness, reach, and uptake of project valuation tools by developing a consistent framework and methodology for assessing the multiple benefits of water management investments.

Project Background

There are many strategies for ensuring a reliable, high-quality water supply, including stormwater capture, source water protection, water reuse, and efficiency improvements. Many of these strategies also provide additional benefits, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving water quality, and enhancing community livability. Integrated water management (IWM) seeks to promote coordinated efforts that recognize and value the multiple benefits of water projects and is key to more sustainable and resilient water systems.

Government agencies, businesses, and others acknowledge the value of projects that provide multiple benefits and the need for consistent approaches for incorporating the value of those benefits into investment decisions. While there are many tools for evaluating the cost of IWM projects, there is no standardized approach that captures their many co-benefits in a consistent way across a wide variety of projects and scales. Rather, each tool varies widely with respect to goals, target audience, and scope. Decision makers need a comprehensive and consistent framework to examine the economic case for water investments.

The proposed project will develop a unifying framework for determining multi-benefits within water investment projects. The framework will facilitate development of consistent tools that quantify benefits imbedded in specific water projects while providing flexible application for a specific region, interest, or query. We will work with both technical and practical experts in multi-benefit valuation of water projects to ensure usefulness and encourage broad uptake. Overall, this project will allow for a fairer comparison of IWM and traditional projects and provide the necessary justification for cost-sharing among the beneficiaries of these projects.