Going Green to Save Green: Economic Benefits of Green Infrastructure Practices

American Rivers’ series of new reports highlights the economic benefits of green infrastructure strategies to better manage polluted runoff. These practices, from rain gardens to green roofs, work by capturing rainwater where it falls. By reducing the polluted runoff that flows into rivers and streams, green infrastructure practices play a critical role in protecting clean rivers.

Unlike most traditional water infrastructure, green infrastructure practices can help communities save money while also providing a number of economic benefits that include reduced costs, increased energy efficiency, mitigating flooding and improving air quality.

Restoring Flows: Financing the Next Generation of Water Systems

American Rivers and Ceres have collaborated to produce “Restoring the Flows,” a follow-up to the “Financing Sustainable Water Infrastructure” report. This new document provides more detailed analysis of key financing options and opportunities that may benefit water utilities, municipalities, ratepayers and watersheds.  Intended to serve as a “roadmap” to guide next steps and further developments, “Restoring the Flows” suggests possible actions and examples to increase transparency, develop new market-based infrastructure services, and enhance the value associated with water and water infrastructure.

Banking on Green: A Look at How Green Infrastructure Can Save Municipalities Money and Provide Economic Benefits Community-wide

Across the country, communities are struggling with how to fix and replace failing and outdated infrastructure and meet new demand to manage stormwater and protect clean water. American Rivers worked with the American Society of Landscape Architects, ECONorthwest, and the Water Environment Federation to release the “Banking on Green” report to build on the current understanding of the cost-effectiveness of green infrastructure and examine how these practices can increase energy efficiency and reduce energy costs, reduce localized flooding, and protect public health.


Saving Money, Protecting Clean Water in the Chesapeake Bay and Great Lakes Regions with Green Infrastructure

American Rivers commissioned two reports from ECONorthwest, an economic consulting firm based in the Pacific Northwest, to estimate the real dollar benefits of green infrastructure stormwater management in the Chesapeake Bay and Great Lakes regions.

The “Economic Benefits of Green Infrastructure” report for the Chesapeake Bay region measures the savings and  benefits that green infrastructure provide to residents of Montgomery County, MD; Washington, DC; and Prince George’s County, MD. The Great Lakes report takes a similar look at Milwaukee, WI and Ann Arbor, MI.

Together, these reports create a compelling picture. Green infrastructure works – and it does so by keeping our waters clean, saving money for local communities, and making these communities better and healthier places to live.


Innovative Financing for Sustainable Water Infrastructure

In the summer of 2011, American Rivers cohosted a convening with Ceres and The Johnson Foundation bringing together a group of experts from the water sector, including utilities, non-profits, investors and private foundations, to discuss ways to drive funding towards 21st century sustainable water infrastructure.

The product of this convening, “Financing Sustainable Water Infrastructure” report summarizes the findings and concludes that rebuilding and operating our current water systems is an extremely inefficient investment. Instead the report recommends bold new approaches for financing and operating public water systems including green infrastructure, flexible water pricing and reducing the reliance on state and federal funding to rely more on private, market-based funding mechanisms.

This timely report lays out a roadmap to ensure that communities grow into the future with safe, reliable water supplies and healthy rivers and streams.

Stay tuned for our upcoming report on the economic benefits of green infrastructure – from reduced flooding to improved air quality – for communities across the country.

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