At the inaugural meeting of the Latin America Conservation Council in November 2011, its members committed to a multi-year goal of using nature to secure clean water supplies for 25 of Latin America’s most at-risk cities. One of the five strategies chosen to reach this goal was to develop and show business cases that can clearly demonstrate the social and economic benefits of investing in nature, or as we also say, green infrastructure, which provides essential services for the development and well-being of human societies. This publication was developed under this context. Based on the information generated by the Latin America Water Funds Partnership, an initiative of The Nature Conservancy, FEMSA Foundation, Inter-American Development Bank and Global Environmental Facility, we gathered results related to the development and implementation of Water Funds in several Latin American cities to provide solid examples of why investing in nature benefitsboth people and economies.
The number of initiatives that protect and restore forests, wetlands, and other water-rich ecosystems has nearly doubled in just four years as governments urgently seek sustainable alternatives to costly industrial infrastructure, according to a new report from Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace. “Whether you need to save water-starved China from economic ruin or protect drinking water for New York City, investing in natural resources is emerging as the most cost-efficient and effective way to secure clean water and recharge our dangerously depleted streams and aquifers,” said Michael Jenkins, Forest Trends President and CEO. “80 percent of the world is now facing significant threats to water security. We are witnessing the early stages of a global response that could transform the way we value and manage the world’s watersheds.” The report, State of Watershed Payments 2012, is the second installment of the most comprehensive inventory to date of initiatives around the world that are paying individuals and communities to revive or preserve water-friendly features of the landscape. Such features include wetlands, streams, and forests that can capture, filter, and store freshwater.
Watersheds across the United States have used different forms of water quality trading over the last decades as a flexible tool for meeting water quality goals. The successes, failures, and valuable lessons learned gathered by pioneering groups can be instrumental in helping new trading programs lay the groundwork for success. Those lessons have been gathered in In It Together: A How-To Reference for Building Point-Nonpoint Water Quality Trading Programs. This report, prepared for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Office of Environmental Markets, incorporates these lessons, with existing resources from USDA, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and others, into this how-to reference (as part of USDA's ongoing efforts to advance market-based solutions as important tools for landowners implementing conservation practices). Part 1 presents an overview and current status of point-nonpoint water quality trading programs and serves as a primer. It summarizes existing water quality trading programs for newcomers to the field.
This manual is an effort by TNC, FEMSA Foundation, IDB, and GEF to compile, analyze and synthesize its own experience with Water Funds, together with that of the projects already in existence and under creation, in order to provide operational guidelines to people and organizations interested in establishing a water fund or similar mechanism. Each location has different ecological, social, economic, legal and institutional features and, therefore, each water fund will have its own characteristics, phases and projections. This manual presents general guidelines and logical steps that must be followed to boost the opportunities and benefits of a water fund and to minimize possible obstacles for its creation. It is not intended to be an in-depth look at every aspect of water funds. Although TNC participates in several other initiatives and similar approaches to watershed management, such as the water producers program in Brazil, this document will not address those initiatives and will only focus on the water funds schemes as they have been developed in the Andean region.
Carpe Diem West Academy maintains a compendium of water and climate-related tools and training materials, organized according to a eight-state 'roadmap' for decision-making under climate uncertainty. Resources are screened and evaluated using a number of criteria, and are presented with a summary and user reviews. Carpe Diem West Academy also offers a 'Tool of the Month' feature and regular webinars exploring tools and their applicability in further depth.