49 Multi-Benefit Resources


How much water can be captured from flood flows to store in depleted aquifers for mitigating floods and droughts? A case study from Texas, US

Author: Yang & Scanlon, The University of Texas at Austin (2019)
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How much water can be captured from flood flows to store in depleted aquifers for mitigating floods and droughts? A case study from Texas, US presents a case study of the opportunity to capture high magnitude flows from 10 major rivers discharging to the Gulf of Mexico and storage potential in nearby depleted aquifers. This modeling study explores managed aquifer recharge with flood flows as an approach to reducing flooding and addressing water supply challenges during droughts.

The Napa River Basin, California

Author: Naturally Resilient Communities (2016)
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The Napa River Basin, California provides a short overview of the multi-benefit approach taken by the Napa River communities to mitigate flood risk. The chosen approach deliberately sought not only to reduce the risk and impact of flooding from the Napa River, but also to preserve and restore habitat, reconnect the floodplain, and improve community livability.

Economics for the Environment Project Page

Author: Economics for the Environment (2019)
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The Economics for the Environment Project Page provides summaries of several case studies and economic valuations for natural resources in the United Kingdom. Projects include analysis of natural flood management, economic valuation of urban natural capital, and chemical usage in watersheds.

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.

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.

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.

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.

SEEA-Water System of Environmental-Economic Accounting for Water

Author: United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Statistics Division (2012)
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SEEA-Water System of Environmental-Economic Accounting for Water is a qualitative and comprehensive framework that aids in the organization of hydrologic and economic information. The goal of the framework is to obtain consistent and comprehensive data collection that will allow for the analysis of natural resource contribution to the economy, and vice versa, the economies impacts on natural resources. The database can be used to inform management decisions, policy, and research in order to protect valuable natural capital globally.

System of National Accounts 2008

Author: European Commission, International Monetary Fund, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), United Nations, The World Bank (2008)
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System of National Accounts 2008 is a qualitative and comprehensive framework that aids in the organization of economic data from across the globe. The goal of the framework is to provide a consistent and comprehensive economic database that can inform management decisions, policy, and research. The System of National Accounts is created for all countries and therefore accounts for all demographics and stages of economic development. The system also includes a methodology for environmental accounting that focuses on the utilization of natural resources and the pollution of natural resources.

System of Environmental-Economic Accounting 2012 Central Framework

Author: United Nations, European Union, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), The World Bank (2014)
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System of Environmental-Economic Accounting 2012 Central Framework is a qualitative and comprehensive framework that aids in the organization of environmental and economic data from across the globe. The goal of the framework is to provide a consistent and comprehensive database that will allow for the analysis of natural resource contribution to the economy, and vice versa, the economies impacts on natural resources. The framework approaches data collection from an economic perspective, including information for natural inputs, environmental assets, and residual flows; the complementary document, System of Environmental-Economic Accounting 2012 Experimental Ecosystem Accounting, approaches data collection from an environmental perspective. The database can be used to inform management decisions, policy, and research, as well as track progress towards global sustainability goals.

System of Environmental-Economic Accounting 2012 Experimental Ecosystem Accounting

Author: United Nations, European Union, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), World Bank Group (2014)
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System of Environmental-Economic Accounting 2012 Experimental Ecosystem Accounting is an addition to the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting 2012 Central Framework. Where the Central Framework approaches data collection from an economic perspective, the Experimental Ecosystem Accounting framework approaches data collection from an environmental perspective and analyzes its interactions with the economy. The Central Framework and Experimental Ecosystem Accounting frameworks can be used in conjunction to provide a comprehensive description of the interactions between the environment, economy, and human activity.

Determining the Economic Value of Water: Concepts and Methods

Author: Young & Loomis, (2014)
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Determining the Economic Value of Water: Concepts and Methods provides a comprehensive summary of economic valuation techniques used for water management strategies. The book includes a framework for economic valuation of the primary and secondary benefits of water investments, including improved water quality, enhanced fish habitats, and recreation benefits. Non-market valuation techniques are discussed for the valuation of difficult to quantify public benefits. The book also includes an analysis of the various valuation techniques, examining specific applications, limitations, and advantages of each technique.

Progress Toward Establishing a National Assessment of Water Availability and Use

Author: Alley et al., U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) (2013)
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Progress Toward Establishing a National Assessment of Water Availability and Use discusses the need for a National Water Census within the United States. The goal of the Water Census would be to provide a comprehensive database that would inform managers and decision-makers on the water availability and water quality in the nation. The report illustrates the framework through various regional and national applications. The report also asserts that in order for a Water Census to be successful, there must be sufficient collaboration between organizations and agencies.

FLOWER: Framework for Long-Term, Whole-System, Equity-Based Reflection

Author: Climate Interactive (2017)
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FLOWER: Framework for Long-Term, Whole-System, Equity-Based Reflection is a decision-making framework for “multisolving,” or systematically examining climate solutions that provide multiple benefits. Areas that are examined include “Climate Protection” at the center, and petals of Food and Water; Jobs and Assets; Health, Well-being, and Safety; Connection; Energy Industry and Mobility; and Resilience. The shading on the petals aims to illustrate the equity aspect of a project, with uniform shading signifying complete equity, heavy shading on the outer edge of the petal signifying benefits only to marginalized populations, and heavy shading in the center of the petal signifying benefits for only the more privileged members of society.

Sustainability and the U.S. EPA, Chapter 4: Sustainability Assessment and Management: Process, Tools, and Indicators

Author: National Research Council (2011)
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Sustainability Assessment and Management: Process, Tools, and Indicators provides an overview on how to approach sustainability assessment and management. The book chapter includes guidance on 1) problem definition, planning and scoping, 2) selected sustainability tools and their applications, 3) tradeoff analysis, 4) communication of results to decision makers, and 5) stakeholder engagement and collaboration. The section on sustainability tools includes discussions on various environmental assessment techniques including risk assessment, life-cycle assessment, benefit-cost analysis, ecosystem services valuation, integrated assessment models, sustainability impact assessment, and environmental justice tools.

Multi-criteria decision analysis in environmental sciences: Ten years of applications and trends

Author: Huang, Keisler, & Linkov, (2011)
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Multi-criteria decision analysis in environmental sciences: Ten years of applications and trends examines the use of multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) for environmental applications within the past decade. The literature review revealed that there has been significant growth in MCDA application within environmental practices. The review also found parallels between applications of MCDA across similar projects, suggesting that MCDA has been applied consistently within cases reviewed.

Integrated Water Management Resource Center

Author: American Rivers (N/A)
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Integrated Water Management Water Resources Center is a guide to American Rivers’ integrated water resources management, or ‘One Water’ approach. The American Rivers’ integrated approach includes a circular process of 1) identification of the approach, 2) understanding co-benefits, 3) identification of the suitable tools, 4) development of a stakeholder strategy, 5) implementation of the strategy, and 6) monitoring, evaluating, and adapting. This approach involves communication and collaboration throughout the entire process. The website contains numerous links to documents, websites, and video files that help support the many aspects of an integrated water resources management approach.

Achieving Resilience through Water Recycling in Peri-Urban Agriculture

Author: Attwater & Derry, (2017)
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Achieving Resilience through Water Recycling in Peri-Urban Agriculture examines water recycling for agricultural use in the peri-urban regions of Western Sydney, Australia. The study provides a qualitative assessment of the benefits associated with agricultural water reuse of treated wastewater and drinking water in the context of the communities larger water system. The benefits identified include enhanced landscape ecology, environmental risk management, water supply reliability, agricultural products and services, reduced wastewater discharges to receiving waters, provision of ecosystem services, community livelihood, social values, and overall enhanced resilience.

One Water Roadmap: The Sustainable Management of Life’s Most Essential Resource

Author: US Water Alliance (2016)
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One Water Roadmap: The Sustainable Management of Life’s Most Essential Resource provides a comprehensive “One Water” framework for the United States. The report is divided into three sections: 1) a discussion on the current landscape of water issues, 2) a discussion of the vision and foundational features of the One Water approach, and 3) a discussion of current successes in utilizing the One Water approach and further improvements. The qualitative framework encompasses a broad range of management strategies and provides guidance for all sectors.

The Economic Impact of Green City, Clean Waters: The First Five Years

Author: Sustainable Business Network (SBN), Green Stormwater Infrastructure Partners, Econsult Solutions (2016)
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The Economic Impact of Green City, Clean Waters: The First Five Years evaluates the economic impact of the Green City, Clean Waters (GCCW) plan in Philadelphia, PA. The Green City, Clean Waters was an initiative of the Philadelphia Water Department to implement more green infrastructure in the city of Philadelphia. The initiative resulted in a multitude of benefits, including boosts in the local economy, increased jobs, improved equity, revived habitats, and overall enhanced aesthetics.

Green Infrastructure Opportunities and Barriers in the Greater Los Angeles Region

Author: U.S. EPA (2013)
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Green Infrastructure Opportunities and Barriers in the Greater Los Angeles Region analyzes the regulatory barriers to installing green infrastructure in Los Angeles. The types of green infrastructure projects discussed in the report include bioretention cells, bioretention strips/swales, infiltration basins/swales/trenches, planter boxes, constructed wetlands, rainwater capture, permeable pavement, and drywells. The report defines the regulatory landscape for green infrastructure in California, identifies potential for fulfilling multiple regulations and requirements through green infrastructure projects, and lastly, examines the regulatory barriers to green infrastructure implementation.

Institutional Issues for Integrated One Water Management Snapshot Case Studies

Author: Water Research Foundation (WRF), Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF), Water Research Australia (2015)
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Institutional Issues for Integrated One Water Management Snapshot Case Studies provides twenty-five case studies that provide practical examples of how agencies and communities worked through institutional barriers. The institutional barriers identified in the report fall under the following categories: 1) planning and partnerships, 2) legislation and regulation, 3) economics and finance, 4) culture, knowledge, and capacity, and 5) citizen and stakeholder engagement. The goal of this report is to provide solutions to these barriers so that communities, organizations, and governments can practice a more integrated and sustainable approach to water resource management.

Envision Project Awards Map

Author: Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (N/A)
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Envision Project Awards map contains interactive case studies of projects from across the globe that have received Envision awards for sustainability. Envision is a comprehensive framework of 60 criteria that encompass the full range of environmental, social, and economic impacts and are used to assess project sustainability. These 60 sustainability criteria, called ‘credits’, are arranged in five categories: Quality of Life, Leadership, Resource Allocation, Natural World, and Climate and Risk.

City Resilience Framework

Author: The Rockefeller Foundation, Arup International Development (2015)
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City Resilience Framework provides a framework for analyzing the sustainability of a city. The framework identifies seven qualities of resilient cities (reflective, robust, redundant, flexible, resourceful, inclusive, and integrated) as well as four dimensions of resilient cities: health & wellbeing; economy & society; infrastructure & environment; and leadership & strategy. The report applies the City Resilience Framework to six cities across the globe, where the resiliency of each city was qualitatively analyzed following the four resiliency dimensions.

What’s getting in the way of a “One Water” approach to water services planning and management?

Author: Mukheibir, Howe, & Gallet, (2014)
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What’s Getting in the way of ‘One Water’ approach to water services planning and management? presents findings of research on the barriers and challenges encountered by water agencies and institutions on adopting a ‘One Water’ approach to water services planning and management. It categorizes the drivers and challenges into three groups: the “push of the present,” the “pull of the future,” and the “weight of the past.” Five key areas that presented challenges were identified through a literature review; these included legislation and regulations, economics and finance, planning and collaboration, culture and capacity, and citizen engagement.

Preliminary Data Summary of Urban Storm Water Best Management Practices

Author: U.S. EPA (1999)
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Preliminary Data Summary of Urban Storm Water Best Management Practices synthesizes existing information on costs and environmental benefits of stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs). The major goals of stormwater BMPs are flow control, temperature and pH control, and pollutant removal, including solids, oxygen-demanding substances, nitrogen and phosphorus, pathogens, petroleum hydrocarbons, metals, and synthetic organics. The environmental benefits cited include hydrological and habitat benefits, human health benefits (direct contact and seafood), and aesthetic benefits (property value/public perception, dual use systems using less space). The report provides a recommendation for stormwater BMPs and their associated costs and benefits.

UWIN Webinar Series: Research Series

Author: Urban Water Innovation Network (UWIN) (2015)
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UWIN Webinars, Research Seminar Series provides webinars on the One Water Solutions Institute research. The webinars are divided into four series, or thrusts: Thrust A addresses the sustainability of urban water systems by comparing past land and water use trends to future predictions, Thrust B examines solutions for sustainability of urban water systems using data and models, Thrust C discusses how cities can encourage the adoption of sustainable water management solutions, and finally, Thrust D analyzes how decision making can be advanced through integration of data, models, and results from past projects. The results from Thrust D will form the basis for the sustainability metrics/indicators utilized in the UWIN Urban Water Sustainability Blueprint.

Just the FACTS: Floods in California

Author: Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) (2017)
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Just the FACTS: Floods in California highlights key state-wide flooding concerns and solutions for California. The solutions presented include taking new approaches to climate change when assessing flood risk, requiring flood insurance and/or restrictions on development in floodplains, and better integrating flood management projects into overall water management. The final solution points out that flood management can have multiple benefits, including restoration of wetlands and rivers, aquifer recharge, and surface water quality improvements.

Stormwater Financing and Outreach

Author: University of Maryland Environmental Finance Center (N/A)
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Stormwater Financing and Outreach Resources provides resources for stormwater financing in the Chesapeake Bay region. The website includes resources for local government stormwater financing manuals, as well as case studies from specific community stormwater projects in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Additionally, the Stormwater Financing and Outreach Unit offers financing and management support from local, state, and non-governmental organizations.

Green Infrastructure Guide for Water Management

Author: United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), UNEP-DHI Partnership, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), The Nature Conservancy, World Resources Institute (2014)
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Green Infrastructure: Guide for Water Management examines case studies of green infrastructure projects throughout the United States. The report argues that a lack of awareness of the solutions and additional cost benefits that green infrastructure projects can provide is the major barrier to implementation of green infrastructure solutions. The case studies include green infrastructure projects such as green roofs, permeable pavement, levee setbacks, wetland conservation and construction, reforestation and afforestation, and flood bypasses and coastal protection. The case studies cite benefits from the ecosystem service categories (i.e., provisioning services, regulating services, cultural services, habitat or supporting services), providing a qualitative discussion of primary benefits and co-benefits for each case study.

Green Infrastructure and Water Supply: A Case Study of the City of Los Angeles

Author: TreePeople, Council for Watershed Health, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (2015)
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Green Infrastructure and Water Supply: A Case Study of the City of Los Angeles presents a two-page report on a modeling effort that identified areas in Los Angeles with potential for groundwater recharge, particularly using stormwater. The results showed potential for recharge to go from the current average of 0.274 AF/acre to an average of 0.97 AF/acre, using low impact development (LID) practices.

Rainwater as a Resource: A Report on Three Sites Demonstrating Sustainable Stormwater Management

Author: TreePeople (2007)
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Rainwater as a Resource: A Report on Three Sites Demonstrating Sustainable Stormwater Management (2007) presents three case studies for stormwater management: (1) single-family, parcel sized greening in South Los Angeles, CA, (2) campus greening at Hillery T. Broadous Elementary School in Pacoima, CA, and (3) campus greening at Open Charter Magnet Elementary School in Westchester, CA. The report includes costs and quantified benefits for tree benefits (tree canopy, carbon storage, carbon sequestration, energy savings), stormwater benefits (runoff reduction, avoided storage), and air pollution benefits (ozone, SO2, NO2, PM10, and CO removal). The report also includes a discussion of additional non-quantified benefits including student health and safety, green waste reuse, and green recreation space.

Green Infrastructure in Parks: A Guide to Collaboration, Funding, and Community Engagement

Author: U.S. EPA (2017)
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Green Infrastructure in Parks: A Guide to Collaboration, Funding, and Community Engagement analyzes green infrastructure projects in parks and the resulting benefits. The report uses case studies to discuss the multiple benefits and encourage cities to invest in green infrastructure projects within their public parks. The multiple benefits cited within the report include recreation value, attractive park features, social and environmental equity, reduced maintenance, drainage, education, water quality, economic benefits, and overall benefits to environment.

LA Sustainable Water Project: Los Angeles River Watershed

Author: Mika et al., UCLA Grand Challenges (2017)
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LA Sustainable Water Project: Los Angeles River Watershed provides an in-depth analysis of the potential future opportunities for water recycling, stormwater capture, groundwater recharge, and water quality improvements along the Los Angeles River. The analysis takes into account current water supply and water quality projects and management practices along the river. The report deduces that more work is needed to better understand optimal levels of stormwater capture and water recycling along the river so as to balance the impact on in-stream flows.

Oro Loma Horizontal Levee Vegetation Report

Author: Save the Bay (2017)
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The Oro Loma Horizontal Levee Project is a multi-agency and multi-jurisdictional project combining the expertise of numerous project partners to address multiple functions for the Oro Loma wastewater treatment facility. The project converted a 10-acre field along the San Francisco Bay’s edge into an eight-million gallon holding basin connected to a horizontal levee. Water from the wastewater treatment plant will be further treated by the vegetation in the holding basin and through microbial uptake as it passes through the horizontal levee before entering the Bay. The system also serves to protect the wastewater treatment facility from sea level rise.

Bay Area Project Tackles Sea-Level Rise and Water Quality

Author: Meadows, NewsDeeply Water Deeply (2018)
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Bay Area Project Tackles Sea-Level Rise and Water Quality reports on a creative adaptive management strategy that has been applied to a section of the San Francisco Bay to help with sea-level rise and improve water quality. The strategy is called a “horizontal levee,” which uses vegetation on a slope to break wave impact. In the article they cite benefits for salt marshes that are at risk for disappearance due to sea-level rise, and benefits to water quality as a result of naturally occurring soil microbes uptaking nutrients in the wastewater delivered to the levee. Additionally, water that passes through the levee exhibits reduced pharmaceutical content.