Contaminated water has long been part of every urban area’s growing pains, and it’s a major health hazard in rapidly industrializing parts of the developing world, which is why it’s the theme of this year’s World Water Day. Here’s how people are using nature-based solutions to manage it.
In 2015, the Peruvian capital of Lima made a significant financial commitment to restore the region’s natural infrastructure to help manage its many water woes. Committing is one thing, however, deploying the finance and implementing nature based projects is quite another. To help them figure out how this should work, Lima’s water utility continues to enlist help and is creating a first-of-its-kind master plan for green infrastructure.
President Donald Trump and many Congressional Republicans say they’ll create jobs by rolling back environmental regulation, but their current trajectory could have the opposite effect: killing more than 220,000 jobs while eradicating endangered species, poisoning water, and accelerating climate change. There is, however, a proven way to reduce regulations without hurting jobs or the environment.
Farms have long swapped water rights among themselves or with urban areas, but new research out last month reveals conservationists are now leveraging these tools for environmental purposes – such as leasing irrigation rights but using the water to replenish the watershed to restore habitat for endangered species and help secure clean water for communities.
As drought, flooding and pollution made headlines year-round in 2016, some experts and organization pushed for a return to the basics, solutions that mimicked nature or protected water at its source, while also developing innovative new finance models to fund the mounting costs water management requires.
As the global water crisis mounts, countries, cities and businesses funneled billions of dollars into market-based investments that conserve and restore forests, mangroves, wetlands and grasslands to secure reliable and clean water, says Ecosystem Marketplace’s latest report tracking watershed investments, released today.
Veteran Chicago hydrologist Don Hey has been arguing for decades that his region could slash its water control costs by taking better care of swamps and floodplains. Local politicians are finally listening – and supporting him on a massive market-based wetland restoration effort that could help ratchet up the scale of mitigation banking across the United States.
In China, Peru, the United States and elsewhere, nature-based interventions to manage water supplies is on the rise, and governments, companies and water providers are establishing some innovative ways to finance it. Ecosystem Marketplace’s latest State of Watershed Investment report tracks global payments for green infrastructure for water, and report authors will present key findings during a December 15th launch webinar.
Watershed investment programs can reduce the costs of managing water while delivering community benefits but they’re underused because mobilizing support is difficult and funding can be hard to come by. The World Resources Institute is attempting to ease the burden with a new one-stop resource that offers detailed guidance on what it takes to create a successful watershed investment program.
More and more companies are acknowledging that they depend on reliable supplies of clean water just as much as the rest of us do, and a few dozen have promised to make sure they’re replenishing the aquifers and waterways that sustain them. Unfortunately, only a handful have taken meaningful steps towards doing so. Here’s a look at some of the winners, and what we can learn from them.
When the myriad players in a single watershed start jockeying for water rights, nature is often left out resulting in degraded ecosystems and species decline. But The Nature Conservancy says innovative impact investing in water markets can shift water back to the environment while still delivering benefits to farms and people.
Nature and Culture International is establishing Ecuador’s first water school, an institution created to train municipal water workers in the skills required to join and administer a water fund. The water fund model continues to experience success in managing Latin America’s stressed water resources and the school is meant to help scale up its use.
Water utilities and NGOs around the world are using market-based mechanisms to clean regional waterbodies and restore surrounding watersheds, but critics say the programs are unproven. Proponents counter: yes, they are, and the data exists to prove it!
Nine years ago, New York City launched a revolutionary project to protect its drinking water by protecting the ecosystem services of its watershed. Ecosystem Marketplace checks up on the most famous ecosystem services project in the world.
March was a big month for water stewardship as consumer-facing companies made commitments to watershed health and natural infrastructure. Meanwhile, the Ecosystem Marketplace water team is collecting data for its State of Watershed Investments 2016 report, due out this fall, and encouraging green infrastructure and watershed protection projects to complete the water survey by May 13.
The World Economic Forum may have once again ranked water as one of the top threats facing society but practitioners and thought leaders don’t appear discouraged. Instead they’re focusing on potential and innovative solutions – developing water quality trading markets in waterways struggling under pollution and engaging in partnerships with unlikely stakeholders, like insurance companies.
The Ohio River Basin Trading Project is the largest water-quality-trading program in the United States, but it’s still dependent on the generosity of donors for survival. This year, it aims to build its base of paying customers with a multi-pronged strategy that includes videos and impact investors.
Climate change has disrupted the world’s water systems, and a handful of governments and companies have responded with funding for nature-based solutions that support healthy watersheds and good water management. We’ll need a lot more than a handful to get the job done, but 2015 offered some promising potential.
Amid the West’s worst drought in recorded history, the U.S. Department of the Interior launched a new center this week that aims to spark impact investments in water infrastructure and better coordination across states. The era of the Hoover Dam is over, clearly, but what exactly the water infrastructure of the future will look like is still an unfolding story.
Many climate impacts are felt through water which is why several thought leaders from the water space gathered on Wednesday at the ongoing UN climate talks in Paris to discuss just where water fits into a global climate agreement.
Peru is searching for new solutions to its water woes by looking back 1,000 years to pre-Incan mountain canals that absorb water during the wet season so it trickles down during dry months. The recent discovery is a major driver in the government’s decision to funnel $26 million of Lima’s water fees into green infrastructure programs.
Lima made headlines this year when it announced it was restoring pre-Incan canals high in the Andes to address its water shortage. That, however, is just one small part of a nationwide shift towards “green infrastructure” that blends the natural ecosystem of the high Andes with man-made technologies old and new. To make it happen, the country first had to change the way it pays for clean water.
Compensatory mitigation markets may be expanding in the US as high level policy guidance from the Department of Interior and the White House, released this month, directs land managing agencies to follow the mitigation hierarchy and scale up private investment in conservation.
The global water crisis will hit everyone from brewers to bakers hard, but it’s still the rare company that steps up to conserve watersheds. Several participants at a World Water Week event last week highlighted the need to entice private actors into partnerships with public entities by spreading both awareness and risk.
Hours before the Clean Water Rule was due to go into effect, a federal judge in North Dakota issued a temporary injunction that will halt implementation in 13 states. It’s the beginning of a long fight, supporters of the injunction say, and one that will inadvertently cause fluctuating demand for mitigation.
World Water Week opened this week on August 23 which means sustainable water management is on a lot of minds and on Monday, several attendees attempted to pinpoint the true value of water. They found that valuation of water is on the rise as multiple sectors, including the financial, are seeking to understand its role and risks better.
Everything water is on everyone’s mind as this week is World Water Week in Stockholm. There, participants, including Ecosystem Marketplace publisher Forest Trends, explored several water-related issues including water valuation and its impact on resource management. Outside of Stockholm, institutional investors insist giant food producers disclose their water risks.
By their very nature, fish are slippery and elusive – as are their habitats. That’s why payments for ecosystems services programs are so rare in fisheries management. But in Bangladesh, where fish and fishing are embedded in the national identity, the government has crafted a program that compensates fishers for conservation.
Six years ago, southern Ecuador’s Regional Water Fund (FORAGUA) began to pool the resources of several municipalities to ensure safe and steady water supplies through sustainable watershed management. In so doing, they created a template for other small cities across the Andes, but that doesn’t mean the work is easy; as Nature and Culture International found when it spearheaded the effort. Here’s what they learned.
Destroying refrigerant gases that have been phased out of production due to the Montreal Protocol has been a significant base for carbon offsetting in California’s cap-and-trade program. But as a recent trip to a recycling center in Compton, California showed, the process has to start somewhere.
The Electric Power Research Institute (ERPI) moves its water quality trading program in the Ohio River Basin into a new stage with the upcoming public auction of stewardships generated during the first three years of the project. Also, a new framework on catchment-based management for the mining industry offers sector-specific guidance.
The main objective of microfinance is to alleviate poverty which is why the socio-economic benefits of payments for ecosystem services projects imply the potential of collaboration between the two sectors. And speaking of poverty alleviation, Bolivia has developed a conservation mechanism it says helps the poor while hurting the deforester
The main objective of microfinance is to alleviate poverty which is why the socio-economic benefits of payments for ecosystem services projects imply the potential of collaboration between the two sectors. And speaking of poverty alleviation, Bolivia has developed a conservation mechanism it says helps the poor while hurting the deforester.
The severity and frequency of wildfires has regions like the US West scrambling for solutions. New research presented during a webinar shows Colorado is taking advantage of the watershed investment approach as more water providers in the state adopt Denver’s celebrated investments in watershed services project that simultaneously protects the city’s water supply and reduces wildfire risk.
Natural infrastructure and watershed investments could serve as valuable solutions to the ongoing droughts happening in California and elsewhere. The latest article in our Crowdrise series looks at nature-based solutions to the global water crisis drawing on findings from the State of Watershed Investments 2014 report.
The future of the proposed rule clarifying jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act is still unclear as its public comment period is once again extended. Meanwhile, a World Wildlife Fund study sadly finds humans are responsible for half of wildlife loss in the last 40 years and the world is far from reaching the Aichi Biodiversity Targets by 2020.
All around the world, from Lima to Dar es Salaam, cities are looking to keep their water flowing by nurturing the watersheds that feed their rivers and streams. Now The Nature Conservancy and the Environmental Law Institute have taken stock of what works and what doesn’t. Here’s a look at their latest guidance on watershed restoration.
In order to maintain ecosystem services, Europe must increase its use of natural infrastructure, a study concluded. In the US, meanwhile, Vermont is considering water quality trading for Lake Champlain. And last week, Forest Trends (publisher of Ecosystem Marketplace) kicked off a six-week fundraising effort spearheaded by the Skoll Foundation.
The private sector doubled their investment in watershed health during 2013 to $41 million, according to findings from the State of Watershed Investments 2014 Executive Summary-out this month. In other news, the Water Benefit Standard launched at World Water Week and the first ever transaction of Stormwater Retention Credits occurred in Washington D.C.
Washington D.C.’s Stormwater Retention Credit (SRC) trading program hit a milestone this month. D.C.’s District Department of the Environment approved the first trade of the program-11, 013 SRCs worth $25,000. The program allows property owners who voluntarily implement green infrastructure that reduces stormwater runoff to earn credits and generate revenue.
The Gold Standard Foundation’s Water Benefit Standard launches today at World Water Week. The Standard, initiated through an innovative public private partnership, uses the results-based finance approach from the carbon world to generate long-term funding for water projects that also deliver socio-economic benefits.
Cities, towns, and companies that directly need water for their product poured $12 billion into projects that provide clean water by supporting healthy watersheds. That’s just a drop in the bucket compared to what’s needed, however, largely because energy providers and others dependent on clean water haven’t yet started pitching in.
Moving from talking about the interlinked thinking behind the water-energy nexus to implementing its approach is a tricky transition. World Bank Economist Diego Rodriguez says the new Thirsty Energy initiative aims to do just that, however, by providing governments with the necessary tools and guidance.
While the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change hasn’t yet considered identifying linkages between adaptation and mitigation, several Parties agreed over its importance at last month’s climate conference in Bonn. The topic is likely to come up again during upcoming sessions in Bonn and at COP20 in Lima.
One year ago this month, the infamous Rim Fire started burning in northern California’s Sierra Nevada mountains. It raged for two full months and destroyed hundreds of homes and ecosystem services. Then something peculiar happened: the fire slowed when it hit the more naturally-managed Yosemite forest, offering one more key to help us manage our forests in a changing climate.
Tanzania and China experiment with public-private partnerships to minimize water-related risks while Costa Rica models the revolving loan fund for watershed protection. And Ecosystem Marketplace reaches the one month mark before its State of Watershed Investment 2014 report launches.
You can’t separate people from climate change. We caused it, and we will suffer from it. The UK’s weather service, the Met Office, recently tried to summarize the interplay between people and the planet in one wall poster, and the result is a stark reminder of the fact that we now live on a managed planet.
Natural capital accounting receives another boost as a UK water utility becomes the first of its kind to develop an environmental profit & loss account. Payments for ecosystem services (PES) received a boost as well, with passage of Peru’s PES law establishing a framework for compensation regarding ecosystem services.
We can’t prevent global shortages of drinking water while providing enough food and energy to meet the needs of a growing population in a climate-constrained world if we don’t understand the linkages between water, energy and food security. Here’s a look at how our demands for energy, food and water all drive each other, and how we can prevent them from driving in the wrong direction.