New Report Looks at Multiple Benefits of Water Investment Strategies

April 25, 2019, Oakland, California Researchers at the Pacific Institute, along with Professor Bob Wilkinson of the University of California, Santa Barbara, have launched an initiative to develop, build consensus around, and promote the uptake of a framework to embed the multiple benefits of water projects into decision-making processes.

Many government agencies, businesses, and others acknowledge the value of multi-benefit projects and the need for consistent approaches for investment decision-making. However, there are no standardized methodologies for systematically identifying and evaluating co-benefits of water management. As a result, the broad benefits and costs of water management strategies are not routinely included in decision making, and water managers cannot maximize the benefits of their investments.

“The framework we developed describes a method for considering the broad benefits and trade-offs of water management strategies. This framework could be used by the public sector when deciding which water supplies or water quality interventions to pursue, or by the private sector when deciding which projects to invest in,” says Dr. Sarah Diringer, co-author of the new report Moving Toward a Multi-Benefit Approach for Water Management. “We know it’s often a challenge for decision makers to incorporate benefits that are harder to quantify, and this framework can help with that.”

By promoting a broader and more systematic consideration of the wide range of benefits and costs associated with water management decisions, this framework can help 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 decisions.

Learn more and download a copy of the report here.