109 Multi-Benefit Resources


Triple Bottom Line Guidelines

Author: Melbourne Water (2007)
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The Triple Bottom Line Guidelines from Melbourne Water outlines a process of including triple bottom line analysis into new water management projects. This guide provides a simple framework to assess projects from identifying needs to stakeholder engagement. Case studies showing applications of triple bottom line assessment are also included.

Measuring the success of climate change adaptation and mitigation in terrestrial ecosystems

Author: Morecroft et al., American Association for the Advancement of Science (2019)
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Measuring the success of climate change adaptation and mitigation in terrestrial ecosystems examines how restoration can impact carbon sequestration and improve ecosystem resilience. This review paper examined 70 different studies and identifies synergies between restoration, climate, and people as an important step to ensure restoration effectiveness.

From ash pond to Riverside Wetlands: Making the business case for engineered natural technologies

Author: Guertin et al., (2018)
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From ash pond to Riverside Wetlands: Making the business case for engineered natural technologies applies a nature valuation framework to a case study on the Tittabawassee River in Michigan. This framework was developed through a partnership with the Dow Chemical Company and the Nature Conservancy to meet a goal of $1 billion in long term value for business projects that improve nature. This article explains the framework and applies it to the Tittabawassee River site.

Green Infrastructure Co-Benefits Valuation Tool

Author: Kasey Armstrong, Green Infrastructure Leadership Exchange (2019)
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The Green Infrastructure Co-Benefits Valuation Tool is an Excel based economic valuation model. It calculates the net present value (NPV) for different green infrastructure investments. The tool is designed to introduce the potential benefits of a project, so environmental managers can get estimates before performing an exhaustive economic valuation.

Renaturing cities using a regionally-focused biodiversity-led multifunctional benefits approach to urban green infrastructure

Author: Connop et al., Sustainability Research Institute (2016)
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This article, “Renaturing cities using a regionally-focused biodiversity-led multifunctional benefits approach to urban green infrastructure,” considers the biodiversity outcomes of case studies in three locations in Europe. The authors discuss the “multifunctional” design in these three case studies and conclude it is effective at improving biodiversity in urban settings.

The contribution of constructed green infrastructure to urban biodiversity: A synthesis and meta-analysis

Author: Filazzola et al., University of Alberta (2019)
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The contribution of constructed green infrastructure to urban biodiversity: A synthesis and meta-analysis examines efficacy of green infrastructure in improving biodiversity. The authors examined 33 published green infrastructure cases that included quantification of biodiversity. The synthesis of these cases suggests there are significant biodiversity benefits. Some projects achieve levels of biodiversity found in undisturbed sites.

A Meta-Analysis of Hedonic Studies to Assess the Property Value Effects of Low Impact Development

Author: Mazzota et al., Atlantic Ecology Division, US EPA (2014)
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A Meta-Analysis of Hedonic Studies to Assess the Property Value Effects of Low Impact Development analyzed 35 different low impact development valuation studies across the United States. Distance and characteristics of the low impact development affect the hedonic valuation. The most robust determinants of willingness to pay are from locally available low impact developments.

The Effect of Low-Impact-Development on Property Values

Author: Ward et al., ECONorthwest (2008)
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The Effect of Low-Impact-Development on Property Values examines the added value to houses in a zip code in Seattle, WA with low impact development (LID). Homes with LID sold for 3-5% more than other homes with the same amenities. This indicates people value the aesthetic, economic, and natural benefits of LID on properties.

Portland’s Green Infrastructure: Quantifying the Health, Energy, and Community Livability Benefits

Author: City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services (2010)
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Portland’s Green Infrastructure: Quantifying the Health, Energy, and Community Livability Benefits quantifies the benefits of green infrastructure (GI) initiatives. Using available research and data, the city quantified benefits in energy and described benefits to community livability and health. This report breaks down the benefits by different GI types to show how projects impact each benefit category.

Downstream Economic Benefits of Conservation Development

Author: Johnston et al., University of Illinois (2005)
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Downstream Economic Benefits of Conservation Development uses a case study in Chicago, Illinois to value the benefits of on-site stormwater storage. Johnson et al. uses simulation models to demonstrate these practices can create benefits to downstream properties. They find stormwater storage can reduce construction costs and provide significant benefits in reduced flood damage to downstream properties.

Green Infrastructure Evaluation Framework

Author: National Recreation and Park Association (2019)
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The Green Infrastructure Evaluation Framework allows for people planning green infrastructure projects to identify and systematically calculate project benefits. Step one of the framework has a tool to identify all the different benefits that could be expected. Step two lays out how to collect and manage data to evaluate green infrastructure. Step 3 builds a structure on how to use the data, once collected, for communication inside and outside of the organization.

Identifying linkages between urban green infrastructure and ecosystem services using an expert opinion methodology

Author: Elliott et al., Columbia University (2019)
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Identifying linkages between urban green infrastructure and ecosystem services using an expert opinion methodology compares benefits in urban distributed stormwater infrastructure. This is commonly known as green infrastructure (GI), provides a wide variety of benefits. This study offers both a methodology for evaluating the multiple benefits of GI as well as a decision-support tool developed through interviews with 46 academic experts that helps to rank different GI strategies based on their known ability to deliver a variety of co-benefits.

Bringing Water and Land Use Together

Author: Local Government Commission (2019)
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Bringing Water and Land Use Together discusses Integrated Regional Water Management. This strategy is similar to the multi-benefit framework and integrates multiple groups of stakeholders to find mutually beneficial solutions to water management issues. The report highlights case studies throughout California that have adopted different integrated management approaches. It provides lists of recommendations for different stakeholders attempting to engage in integrated management.

Inclusive Urban Ecological Restoration in Toronto, Canada

Author: Newman, Center for Resource Economics (2011)
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Inclusive Urban Ecological Restoration in Toronto, Canada explores the ways improving diversity in park management could benefit Toronto communities. Involving more racial groups in projects has many unrecognized benefits. For example, it can help undo racial stereotypes that parks and natural spaces are only for white people. It can also make people who live in these communities more visible. Communities can also be empowered by being included in ecological projects. By involving minority groups from the beginning of a project, the project is more sustainable in the long term.

Dialogue on Diversity: Broadening the voices in urban and community forestry

Author: McDonough et al., US Forest Service (2003)
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Dialogue on Diversity: Broadening the Voices in Urban and Community Forestry reports the results of a national attempt to increase diversity in urban forestry efforts. This US Forestry project piloted a method of expanding urban forestry engagement by holding workshops across 11 different sites. This report showed that with enough effort, successful workshops can be held that identify new benefits for urban forestry.

Participatory development and the sustainable city: community forestry in Detroit

Author: Vachta & McDonough, The Pennsylvania State University at Harrisburg (2002)
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Participatory Development and the Sustainable City: Community Forestry in Detroit is a chapter in a book discussing sustainable city management. This chapter focuses on including equitable stakeholder engagement in these decisions by examining environmental investment in Detroit. After Detroit experienced a loss of about 1/5 of its city, green infrastructure projects were designed and implemented to fill the open areas. A series of projects were chosen by the communities, with public involvement. While implementation continued, a series of interviews were conducted to ensure the project was meeting community expectations.

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

Author: Hamil Pearsall, 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.

Just green enough: contesting environmental gentrification in Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Author: Curran & Hamilton, DePaul University (2012)
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Just green enough: contesting environmental gentrification in Greenpoint, Brooklyn is a case study showing the benefits of partnerships between developers, environmentalists, and community members. While development can lead to displacement, there is a space for strategic development that does not negatively alter the neighborhood. Focusing on people’s health instead of aesthetics can protect the character of the neighborhood.

An Equitable Water Future

Author: US Water Alliance (2017)
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An Equitable Water Future highlights the main challenges and main solutions in water equity in the United States. There are 1.4 million Americans without access to modern plumbing. Affordability can also contribute to water inequity, the bottom 20% can pay 1/5 of their income on water bills. Communities might have disproportionate impacts from historical water quality threats such as nuclear testing or lead pipes. Examples of projects and organizations that are addressing these equity issues are provided. Equity and climate resilience are also discussed.

Economic Benefits: Metics and Methods for Landscape Performance Assessment

Author: Wang et al., 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.

Water Funds Toolbox

Author: The Nature Conservancy (N/A)
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The Water Fund Toolbox provides a wide variety of resources, case studies, tools, etc. for groups seeking to create or advance the work of a Water Fund. A Water Fund is an organization that designs and enhances financial and governance mechanisms which unite public, private, and civil society stakeholders around a common goal to contribute to water security through nature-based solutions and sustainable water management.

Green Infrastructure Co-Benefits Valuation Tool

Author: Armstrong, 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 Untapped Potential of California’s Water Supply: Efficiency, Reuse, and Stormwater – Issue Brief

Author: Gleick et al., Pacific Institute, NRDC (2014)
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Increased pressures on California’s water supply, including from population growth and intense periods of drought exacerbated by climate change, are leading to the overuse of surface water and groundwater. But with existing technology and conservation methods, the state can take vital steps to improve its resilience to drought and plan for a more sustainable water future. This issue brief, produced in collaboration with the Natural Resources Defense Council, is a statewide analysis of the potential for improved efficiency in agricultural and urban water use, water reuse and recycling, and increased capturing of local rainwater.

EPA Tools and Resources Webinar Series

Author: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (N/A)
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The EPA Tools and Resources Webinar Series provides a monthly update on EPA tools and resources available to help inform decision-making. Each webinar focuses on a single tool and recordings are kept available online to watch at a later date.

Urban green space, public health, and environmental justice: The challenge of making cities ‘just green enough’

Author: Wolch et al., UC Berkeley (2014)
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Urban green space, public health, and environmental justice: The challenge of making cities ‘just green enough’ is a review paper evaluating the global relationship between environmental improvements and inequity. The article concludes green space development’s impact on disenfranchised groups hinges on the goals of the development. Greening that is designed to increase the value of the neighborhood can be problematic, but greening that is “just enough” can accomplish significant health improvements without displacing people.

Wiped Out by the ‘Greenwave’: Environmental Gentrification and the Paradoxical Politics of Urban Sustainability

Author: Checker, Queens College CUNY (2011)
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Wiped Out by the ‘Greenwave’: Environmental Gentrification and the Paradoxical Politics of Urban Sustainability examines how profit driven environmental improvements could exacerbate inequities through ethnography in Harlem, New York. Environmental gentrification can be an issue when pursuing green infrastructure (GI) projects. The author suggests making any changes in land use sensitive to cultural activities and historical context.

Promoting ecosystem and human health in urban areas using Green Infrastructure: A literature review

Author: Tzoulas et al., (2007)
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Promoting ecosystem and human health in urban areas using Green Infrastructure: A literature review formulates a conceptual framework of associations between urban green space, and ecosystem and human health. Through an interdisciplinary literature review the possible contributions of Green Infrastructure on both ecosystem health and human health are critically reviewed. Over a dozen studies are cited that demonstrate human health aspects related to green space and nature. Included definition of ecosystem services and Green Infrastructure which differs from LID definitions of GI in the U.S.

San Francisco Bay Shoreline Adaptation Atlas

Author: San Francisco Estuary Institute, SPUR (2019)
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The San Francisco Bay Shoreline Adaptation Atlas offers practitioners and decision makers in the region a comprehensive, science-based framework for assessing, planning, and designing sea level rise adaptation strategies. The framework organizes adaptation strategies around geographically connected areas, called Operational Landscape Units (OLUs); these OLUs are explained in depth with specific strategies considered for each within the Atlas’ mapping tool.

Measuring Benefits of Distributed, Nature-Based Stormwater Projects

Author: The River Project (2018)
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Measuring Benefits of Distributed, Nature-Based Stormwater Projects explores a variety of factors relevant to the assessment of distributed, nature-based stormwater projects. This report provides a useful discussion around definitions of terms, typology, scale, and other important factors related to the comparison of green, grey, and green/grey infrastructure.

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: Southon et al., (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: Fuller et al., (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: Southon et al., (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: Diringer et al., (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.

Natural Infrastructure in the Nexus

Author: Ozment, DiFrancesco, & Gartner, IUCN, International Water Association, World Resources Institute (2015)
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This paper discusses how natural infrastructure, the networks of land and water that provide services to people, can help decision makers and infrastructure managers address interconnected challenges facing water, energy, and food systems, often referred to as the “nexus.” The paper examines reasons and ways to include natural infrastructure in this nexus, challenges that have prevented increased investment in natural infrastructure, and recommendations for moving forward.

Nature and Health

Author: Hartig et al., (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: Kardan et al., (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.

A Northwest Vision for 2040 Water Infrastructure

Author: Roth & Mazza, Center for Sustainable Infrastructure (2017)
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In A Northwest Vision for 2040 Water Infrastructure the Center for Sustainable Infrastructure presents a vision for the future of water management for the Northwestern U.S. The vision describes how Northwest communities can develop integrated, sustainable, and resilient water systems that address water quality, water supply, and flooding. The report is full of qualitative descriptions of the benefits of this more sustainable and equitable vision and provides numerous real-world examples of how and where Northwest communities are already working towards this future.

Performance of Two Bioswales on Urban Runoff Management

Author: Xiao et al., (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.

Thermal performance of extensive green roofs in cold climates

Author: Liu & Baskaran, 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.

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

Author: Einstein & Litke, 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.

From Projects to Portfolios: Mainstreaming Large-Scale Investment in Integrated Infrastructure

Author: Martin et al., Earth Economics (2018)
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The report From Projects to Portfolios by Earth Economics is a helpful guide and resource for municipal, NGO, and charitable organizations seeking to advance investment in integrated, also known as green, infrastructure. The report is structured to be used as a quick reference guide, or a more in-depth resource, complete with detailed appendices and online links to additional materials.

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.

Top 22 Benefits of Trees

Author: TreePeople (2019)
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This website, Top 22 Benefits of Trees, provides an overview of the top benefits provided by trees, which include, but are not limited to, saving water, preventing water pollution, and many other benefits.

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.