Last year, governments and companies invested $12.3 billion (B) in initiatives implementing nature-based solutions to sustain the world’s clean water supplies. According to a new report from Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace, this funding – which supports healthy watersheds that naturally filter water, absorb storm surge, and perform other critical functions – flowed to more than seven million households and restored and protected a total of 365 million hectares (ha) of land, an area larger than India. Up from $8.2B in investment tracked in 2011, the researchers say the sector’s continued growth and near-doubling of the hundreds of operational programs reflects governments’ desire to secure water quality and availability with affordable strategies that can complement or replace industrial infrastructure.
Watershed Approach Handbook: Improving Outcomes and Increasing Benefits Associated with Wetland and Stream Restoration Projects advances the use of a watershed approach in the selection, design and siting of wetland and stream restoration and protection projects, including projects required by compensatory mitigation. The handbook, jointly developed by ELI (Environmental Law Institute) and The Nature Conservancy, demonstrates how using a watershed approach can help ensure that these projects also contribute to goals of improved water quality, increased flood mitigation, improved quality and quantity of habitat, and increases in other services and benefits. It provides an overall framework for the spectrum of watershed approaches, examples of specific types of these approaches, examples of types of analyses that may be useful for using one, and a list of national data sources that might inform all of the above. It also provides some guidance and lessons learned about considerations when developing wetland and stream protection and restoration projects.
This case study provides a first of its kind look at how natural defenses, in conjunction with built infrastructure, can help protect our communities from the impacts of climate change. Given New York City's density, in many parts of the City it is more cost-effective to protect people and property from climate risks at the neighborhood or regional scale than home by home or through relocation. This case study is focused on neighborhood scale protection alternatives and offers a methodology that could be replicated and applied to other coastal communities to evaluate the efficacy and relative costs and benefits of potential coastal resilience strategies.
In 2013, 530 institutional investors representing approximately US$57 trillion in assets and a number of major purchasing organizations called for greater transparency on corporate water issues from 1,036 companies. 593 companies from Antofagasta to Hewlett-Packard and L’Oreal to Unilever responded; a 59% increase since last year. This analysis and report is presented to provide those investors and purchasers with insight on the adequacy of the corporate response to water issues. In this report, CDP and Deloitte Consulting LLP (Deloitte) present results of the analysis based on the water disclosures of 184 Global 500 corporations that participated this year; a 60% response rate. Together, these corporations account for approximately 11 billion megaliters of water withdrawals per year, enough to provide 50 liters of water per day to the world’s current population of approximately 7 billion people for nearly 82 years. Over 90% of these companies now have water management plans in place, and companies report more than 1,300 actions, targets and goals to reduce their impact on water resources, and thus their exposure to water risks.
The main objective of this paper is to provide recommendations on the social impact assessment (SIA) of investments for watershed services (IWS) projects or programs. The paper draws on an extensive literature on the theory and practice of SIA, on the authors’ experiences of applying SIA in other natural resource contexts, and on discussions from a workshop with IWS program practitioners. It can be regarded as an introductory primer on SIA for IWS practitioners.
Aging water infrastructure, increasing demand, continued land use change, and increasingly extreme weather events are driving the costs of water management higher in the United States. Investing in integrated water management strategies that combine engineered solutions with "natural infrastructure" can reduce costs, enhance services, and provide a suite of co-benefits for communities and the environment. This publication offers comprehensive guidance on the economics, science, partnerships, and finance mechanisms underlying successful efforts to secure the water-related functions of networks of forests and other ecosystems.
Water Funds are governance and financial mechanisms organized around the central principle of watershed conservation. This document is intended to assist people working on Water Funds to understand their information needs and become familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of various monitoring approaches. This primer is not intended to make people monitoring experts, but rather to help them become familiar with and conversant in the major issues so they can communicate effectively with experts to design a scientifically defensible monitoring program. The document highlights the critical information needs common to Water Fund projects and summarizes issues and steps to address in developing a Water Fund monitoring program. It explains key concepts and challenges; suggests monitoring parameters and an array of sampling designs to consider as a starting-point; and provides suggestions for further reading, links to helpful resources, and an annotated bibliography of studies on the impacts that result from activities commonly implemented in Water Fund projects. While this document highlights the importance of setting clear goals and objectives, which will guide a Water Fund and its activities and define what information should be tracked, it does not provide detailed information about how to develop goals and objectives. For more information on this process, see the Conservancy’s primer on Water Fund creation and design, Water Funds: Conserving green infrastructure: A guide for design, creation and operation.
Policymakers, natural resource managers, researchers, and expert practitioners from 13 Chinese provinces and 15 countries recently convened at Katoomba XVIII: Forests, Water, and People in Beijing to advance investments in natural infrastructure for water security in an urbanizing world. The setting reflected China’s global leadership in eco-compensation as well as regional opportunities to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of investments in watershed services. Over the four-day meeting, participants presented and discussed innovative approaches from China and around the world for addressing water risk through investments in natural infrastructure. Sessions focused on innovative financing for natural infrastructure, new approaches by governments and business, managing the water-energy-food-nexus, and urban partnerships for watershed protection. Participants also delved into ongoing investments in Beijing’s watershed, focusing on efforts led by the neighboring Beijing Municipality and Hebei Province. Drawing on insights and observations during the meeting as well as experience from around the world, meeting participants developed recommendations, presented in these documents.
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.