21 Multi-Benefit Resources


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.

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.

The value of public and private green spaces under water restrictions

Author: MacDonald et al., (2010)
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The value of public and private green spaces under water restrictions analyzes the economic impact of outdoor watering restrictions on private and public landscapes. The results show that outdoor watering restrictions do not have an impact on the value of private landscapes, but may have implications for public landscape usage.

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.

The estimated impact of California’s urban water conservation mandate on electricity consumption and greenhouse gas emissions

Author: Spang, Holguin, & Loge, (2018)
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In The estimated impact of California’s urban water conservation mandate on electricity consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, Spang et al. use the reported water conservation data to assess how the water utilities have responded to the 2015 California water reduction mandate and to estimate the electricity savings and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions associated with reduced operation of urban water infrastructure systems.

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.

Impacts of Urban Water Conservation Strategies on Energy, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, and Health: Southern California as a Case Study

Author: Sokolow et al., (2016)
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Impacts of Urban Water Conservation Strategies on Energy, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, and Health: Southern California as a Case Study expands on a 2014 health impact assessment of California’s urban water conservation strategies to evaluate the impacts of two possible conservation approaches: banning landscape irrigation and expanding alternative water sources (e.g. recycled water). Findings show that expanding alternative water sources can have a highly positive impact on public health.

Valuing the Environmental Benefits of Urban Water Conservation: Final Report

Author: Coughlin et al., Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, University of California at Berkeley, California Urban Watershed Council (2006)
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Valuing the Environmental Benefits of Urban Water Conservation Final Report presents a method for valuing the environmental benefits of water conservation and efficiency. Water savings of a particular water conservation strategy are represented by the reduction in water demand, as well as the resulting co-benefits, including enhanced fish habitats, increased recreational opportunities, and improved water quality as a result of wetland filtration. The report provides a methodology for monetizing these environmental benefits so as to provide utilities with a method for comparing the benefits and costs of various best management practices.

CUWCC Direct Utility Avoided Cost Model and Environmental Benefits Model Download Page

Author: Alliance for Water Efficiency (2007)
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The CUWCC Direct Utility Avoided Cost Model and Environmental Benefits Model is a tool developed by the California Urban Water Conservation Council (CUWCC) in order to improve water use efficiency. The model uses the avoided cost economic valuation method in order to estimate the potential savings of water use efficiency improvements. The resource provides a downloadable version of the valuation tool, the methodology, and examples of the tool being utilized.

WaterSET

Author: Hazen & Sawyer, (2016)
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WaterSET is a triple bottom line assessment tool developed by WRF (Reuse-14-03) that compares different water supply options to direct potable reuse (DPR). The report, ‘Methodology for a Comprehensive Analysis (Triple Bottom Line) of Alternative Water Supply Projects Compared to Direct Potable Reuse’, describes the methodology behind the WaterSET tool. While the WaterSET tool is more oriented towards urban contexts, many of the principles and benefits associated with the water supplies assessed in Reuse-14-03 are relevant to agricultural contexts (Reuse-16-06). The report and tools developed as part of Reuse-14-03 were recently released and are currently being reviewed by the Reuse-16-06 project team.

OneWaterSF

Author: San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) (2018)
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OneWaterSF is an integrated systems approach adopted by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) that aims to provide greater water and energy resource reliability and resiliency, water infrastructure optimization, and contributions to the livability and sustainability of San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area.The source contains examples of OneWaterSF programs in San Francisco, including a Water Reuse Program, a Resource Recovery and Solar Energy Program, a Stormwater Management Ordinance, and Westside Recycled Water Project and San Francisco Groundwater Project. The benefits cited in these projects and programs include water and energy savings, stormwater management, restoration of watersheds and ecosystems, improvements to community aesthetics, and increased educational opportunities.

Climatic consequences of adopting drought-tolerant vegetation over Los Angeles as a response to California drought

Author: Vahmani & Ban-Weiss, (2016)
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Climatic consequences of adopting drought tolerant vegetation over Los Angeles as a response to California drought utilized a regional climate model to analyze the impacts of drought-tolerant vegetation in Los Angeles. The results revealed that drought-tolerant vegetation contributed to a daytime warming of 1.9 degrees Celsius, largely due to decreases in irrigation, and a nighttime cooling of 3.2 degrees Celsius, due to differences in soil thermodynamics and heat exchange. The report concludes that the greater magnitude of the nighttime cooling could counterbalance the warming effects during the day.

Water conservation benefits of urban heat mitigation

Author: Vahmani & Jones, (2017)
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Water conservation benefits of urban heat mitigation examines urban heat mitigation strategies, such as cool roofs, and the impacts on water conservation in California. The study shows that while cool roofs provide significant cooling benefits and life cycle cost savings, they also provide other water-related benefits including decreased outdoor water use by reducing evaporation and irrigation practices. The report argues that cool roofs provide a solution for multiple sectors within California.

Integrated Urban Water Model (IUWM)

Author: One Water Solutions Institute, Colorado State University (N/A)
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Integrated Urban Water Model (IUWM) is a planning tool for urban planners and water managers considering water savings from indoor and outdoor conservation through utilization of alternative water sources including greywater, stormwater, and reclaimed water. The tool utilizes lot size, land use designations, climate information, and soil characteristics to evaluate the impact of land use configurations, climate changes, conservation programs, and alternative water sources on water demands.

Energy Down the Drain: The Hidden Costs of California’s Water Supply

Author: Cohen, Nelson, & Wolff, NRDC, Pacific Institute (2004)
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Energy Down the Drain: The Hidden Costs of California’s Water Supply analyzes the connections between power and water resources in California. The report presents several key findings: 1) water conservation lowers energy use and energy bills, 2) water recycling is a highly energy efficient water source, 3) retiring agricultural land may increase energy use if the water is transferred to other agricultural or urban uses, 4) Retiring agricultural land can save energy if the water is dedicated to the environment, and 5) diverting water above dams costs an enormous amount of power and money. Based on these findings it is recommended that decision makers better integrate energy into water policy decision-making, as well as give water conservation higher priority.

Greenhouse Gas and Energy Co-Benefits of Water Conservation

Author: Maas, Polis Project (2009)
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Greenhouse Gas and Energy Co-Benefits of Water Conservation examines the multiple benefits that are produced from the “water-energy nexus”. The benefits include indirect energy savings from municipal water and wastewater provision, indirect and direct energy use, and embedded energy for chemical manufacturing. The report includes example case studies conducted on various scales (program, municipal, provincial, and community levels), as well as provides methodologies for the quantification of the cited energy benefits.

Water-use efficiency and productivity: rethinking the basin approach

Author: Gleick, Smith, & Cooley, (2011)
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Water-use efficiency and productivity: rethinking the basin approach is a response to a paper in Water International. The paper highlights major components of inefficient water use that were ignored, examines water productivity rather than just water efficiency, and discusses co-benefits. The co-benefits of water-use efficiency examined are improved water quality, increased production, improved water supply reliability, decreased energy demands, and reduced or delayed infrastructure investments.

California Water Plan, Update 2009, Volume 2: Resource Management Strategies

Author: California Department of Water Resources (2009)
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The California Water Plan presents a guide on water management strategies that can provide multiple benefits both regionally and statewide in California. The management strategies are organized by goals, such as reducing water demand, improving operational efficiency, or improving water quality, and the benefits are categorized under water supply, drought preparedness, water quality, operational flexibility, flood impacts, environmental benefits, energy benefits, recreation, and groundwater overdraft risk. The report also includes guidance on the quantitative analysis of multiple benefits for policymakers and water resource managers.

Putting Green to Work: Economic Recovery Investments for Clean and Reliable Water

Author: American Rivers (2010)
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Putting Green to Work: Economic Recovery Investments for Clean and Reliable Water categorizes “green” and “bright green” projects that provide multiple environmental and economic benefits, including improved water quality and quantity, reduced runoff and flooding, groundwater recharge, improved habitats, reduced energy use, and overall water supply reliability. The report focuses primarily on green infrastructure and demand management projects, as well as leveraging natural capital for water management, including examples from specific states and cities with a focus on funding projects. The report provides a qualitative discussion of the multiple benefits.

Adapting to Change: Utility Systems and Declining Flows

Author: California Urban Water Agencies (2017)
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Adapting to Change: Utility Systems and Declining Flows explores the consequences of reduced indoor flows related to conservation on urban water supply systems in California. The report illustrates that demand management through water use efficiency can have many co-benefits including improved drought resilience, improved in-stream flows, reduced or deferred cost of infrastructure, and reduced energy costs; declining flows, however, can negatively impact water distribution, conveyance, wastewater treatment, and recycled water policy. Specific examples and details are presented within the report, including survey and interview data.

Water Efficiency for Instream Flow: Making the Link in Practice

Author: Alliance for Water Efficiency, American Rivers, Environmental Law Institute (2011)
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Water Efficiency for Instream Flow: Making the Link in Practice examines the potential for linking water efficiency efforts to improving instream flows within the Colorado River Basin. The report concludes that improving water efficiency can allow for population and economic growth without requiring a large investment in new or expanded water supplies or wastewater. It also concludes that environment and state regulatory requirements can drive water efficiency efforts. The report includes a qualitative discussion on the following benefits: reduced surface or groundwater withdrawals, operational flexibility for water utility, and instream flows.