Stantec has been awarded a study from The Water Research Foundation (WRF) to strengthen the business case for utilities and municipalities to evaluate, compare, and demonstrate benefits of green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) additions into their stormwater management portfolio. The project, titled Advancing Benefits and Co-Benefits Quantification and Monetization for Green Stormwater Infrastructure: An Interactive Guidebook for Comparison Case Studies, will assist utility leaders to make better, data-driven decisions supported by financial frameworks and supporting analytical tools.
Municipalities and utilities are facing challenges arising from more stringent water quality and quantity standards, aging infrastructure and population growth that is impacting the timing and feasibility of capital improvement projects with limited resources. These must be addressed while ensuring reliable stormwater management services, protecting the public from flooding, and ensuring that service charges are affordable and equitable to all users. Given the impacts of climate change on the timing, frequency, and magnitude of extreme wet weather impacts, the role and importance of stormwater management is amplified.
Today, the use of traditional piped drainage systems is increasingly being supplemented with GSI. “Green stormwater infrastructure not only provides the technical, stormwater-related functions, but can provide multiple co-benefits not directly linked to its management. We are seeing air quality improvements, energy savings and carbon sequestration, added recreational amenities, and health benefits, as well as increased property values in communities that have added GSI,” said Bernadette Callahan, Stantec’s green infrastructure sector leader.
Quantifying and monetizing triple bottom line (TBL) benefits attributable to GSI is imperative in evaluating future stormwater investments as it allows for a direct comparison of all costs and benefits for various infrastructure alternatives. This new study aims to build upon two recently completed WRF decision support tools – Community-enabled Lifecycle Analysis of Stormwater Infrastructure Costs (CLASIC) and Economic Framework and Tools for Quantifying and Monetizing the Triple Bottom Line Benefits of Green Stormwater Infrastructure.
Bernadette Callahan will serve as principal investigator with co-principal investigator Eric Bill of Autocase Economic Advisory to synthesize comparison case studies at a variety of scales and geographies through these two tools. Results will be summarized in a user-friendly guidebook, including GSI cost and benefit quantification, upfront capital costs, operation and maintenance costs and other lifecycle costs to allow for better cross-comparison at the national scale. In addition, the team will advance the practice of benefits and co-benefits quantification by identifying and prioritizing current unmet research needs. “Green infrastructure supports urban resilience. Now more than ever, to be prosperous, cities will need to be resilient,” noted Callahan.
The research team will be further supported by a wide range of utilities and municipalities across North America. The project is expected to be completed by the summer of 2023.
A sustainable water future is complex and dynamic. By viewing water as an integrated system, Stantec is helping to confront global water challenges and accelerate the pathway to a more sustainable, reliable, and affordable future that provides improved water, energy, and infrastructure solutions.