There is broad recognition that adapting to climate change, coupled with the need to address aging infrastructure, population growth, and degraded ecosystems, will require rethinking programs and policies and investing in our natural and built water systems. Many of the strategies for addressing water challenges can also provide other benefits, including reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, providing wildlife habitat, and enhancing community livability. However, identifying and quantifying these benefits for water management strategies can be challenging.
To address these challenges, researchers at the Pacific Institute and Professor Bob Wilkinson of the University of California, Santa Barbara launched an initiative to develop, build consensus around, and promote the uptake of a framework to embed the multiple benefits of water projects into decision-making processes.
Moving Toward a Multi-Benefit 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.
Additionally, the Pacific Institute launched a resource library for analysts, decision makers, and advocates seeking to identify and examine multiple benefits of a broad range of water management strategies.