Economic Evaluation of Stormwater Capture and Its Multiple Benefits in California

Published: March 2020

Authors: Sarah Diringer, Morgan Shimabuku, and Heather Cooley

Pages: 18



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. Pacific Institute researchers examined the levelized cost of water for 50 proposed stormwater capture projects in California, characterizing the projects by water source, process, and water supply yield. In addition, the authors incorporated co-benefits of projects into the analysis to examine the net benefit of proposed projects. The article demonstrates that for projects that reported even a limited number of additional benefits, the net levelized cost of urban stormwater capture decreased by 85%, with some of the projects demonstrating a net benefit. Thus, scaling urban stormwater capture projects to capitalize on economies of scale and incorporating co-benefits of projects can dramatically improve the economic feasibility of these projects. Learn more and download the article here.


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