A Multi-Benefit Approach to Water Management

A Multi-Benefit Approach to Water Management (2020)

This site includes an overview of the multi-benefit framework, examples for applying the framework, and resources for incorporating multiple benefits into your own work.

Primary Functions

  • Understand how the Multi-Benefit Framework can help advance more equitable and sustainable water solutions.

Detailed Description


Investing in Our Water Future

Adapting to climate change, coupled with addressing aging infrastructure, population growth, and degraded ecosystems, will require investing in our natural and built water systems.

These investments will take many forms, from restoring watersheds to improving water efficiency and stormwater management, and will address a variety of water challenges, from flooding to water quality impairments and diminishing water supplies.

Because water is deeply linked with economic, environmental, and community well-being, investing in water can address water challenges while providing additional “co-benefits.” From healthy waterways to reduced energy use and urban green space, investing in multi-benefit water management can support our future resilience.

Source: Pacific Institute


Developing Solutions through Multiple Benefits

Government agencies, businesses, communities, and others have acknowledged the importance of water management strategies that provide multiple benefits, yet there is no standardized approach for systematically identifying and evaluating these benefits or additional trade-offs.

In collaboration with a broad range of stakeholders, researchers at the Pacific Institute and Professor Bob Wilkinson at the University of California, Santa Barbara have developed a framework to help water managers incorporate multiple benefits and trade-offs into water management decisions. By promoting a broader and more complete consideration of the wide range of benefits and costs associated with water management decisions, water managers can:

  • Provide a more objective and transparent basis for comparison of water management options for a policy or project;
  • Identify opportunities to share costs among project beneficiaries;
  • Discover design improvements that can leverage additional benefits;
  • Engage with stakeholders and decision makers to improve support for a policy or project;
  • Optimize the investment of time, money, and other resources; and
  • Increase equitable investments in communities and reveal and mitigate adverse or unintended consequences.

Additional information





Topics & SDGs

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WWF Mitigation