This Week In Water: Peru’s Groundbreaking Yet Old-School Shift To Green Infrastructure

Kelli Barrett

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.

This article was originally posted in the Water Log newsletter. Click here to read the original.

25 November 2015 | Greetings! This spring, massive landslides swept down the Andes, killing nine people just above Peru’s capital, Lima, and destroying the homes of hundreds more. Then came the dry season, and Lima – the world’s second-largest desert city – went thirsty, as it always does for seven months each year. But the city also made headlines for its decision to smooth those cycles by embracing radical “new” green solutions that harken back one thousand years.

Yes, one thousand years.  That is when a pre-Incan people carved stone canals into the Andes to absorb the five-month wet season’s downpours and channel the water into the mountain, where it trickles down over a period of months instead of hours to emerge in the dry season, when it’s needed most.


In June, the government announced it was funneling $26 million of Lima’s water fees into green infrastructure programs that include the restoration of these ancient structures (called amunas), and that investment is just the beginning. Now, Ecosystem Marketplace has coverage of Lima’s groundbreaking – yet surprisingly old-school – shift to green infrastructure


In more twenty-first century news, Forest Trends also launched our COP21 Forests Blog this week.That should give you plenty of time to brush up on the key forest-related issues and how they figure in negotiations before climate talks start on November 30th.


In this month’s Water Log, we have coverage of new funding for restoration in Alberta Canada and the states in the Gulf of Mexico, water stewardship news from Anheuser-Busch InBev and Metsä, and much more.


Finally, Forest Trends is hiring. Check out our position below with the Public Private Co-Finance Initiative or click here.


Happy reading – and for those in the US, Happy Thanksgiving!

— The Ecosystem Marketplace Team

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EM Headlines

The COP 21 Forests Blog Is Now Live

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  – Visit the blog here.

To Avert Disaster, Peru Diverts Water Fees To Andean Alpacas And Pre-Incan Aqueducts

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.

  – Ecosystem Marketplace has coverage.

NGOs Put Community And Indigenous Lands On The Map

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  – Learn more.

Obama Move Seen Boosting Private Investment In Conservation

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  – Get the full story here.

In The News


Congress’ Mighty Attempt to Block the US Clean Water Rule

Congressional lawmakers in the US are still attempting to kill completely the Clean Water Rule, currently stayed nationwide. Early this month, Senators failed to collect the necessary votes to force the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers, the rule’s creators, to re-write the legislation. Immediately thereafter though, legislators moved to block the rule under the Congressional Review Act. Advocates of the rule argue the Senate’s current maneuverings are a waste of time, as President Barack Obama made it clear he will veto any such legislation threatening the rule.  And additionally, there is talk of “ideological riders” attached to a December 11 spending bill that could prevent implementations of the Clean Water Rule. 

  – Click here for news on attempts to block the rule through the Congressional Review Act.

The Hill has coverage of the first attempt to block the rule through re-writing.

Can California Remain a Water-Conscious State Beyond the Drought?

Despite the possibility that California’s relentless drought that’s lasted four-plus years might break soon, thanks to strong El Nino conditions, many environmentalists and water managers in the state argue its water-saving rules should stay in place as the new normal of water management. However, municipalities and private companies have lost millions by selling less water, prompting strong arguments against mandatory water restrictions in plentiful times. 

  – Keep reading here.

Canadian Province Goes Au Natural for Storm Protection

The Canadian province of Alberta is seriously exploring natural infrastructure as flood mitigation, to the tune of $2.9 million. The Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program is doling out funds for stream bank restoration and for a tool that assesses consequences of watershed restoration. 

  – Learn more.

The Silver Lining in Detroit’s Vacant Lands

Detroit’s vacant land and abandoned properties, with little market demand for traditional development, is actually creating an opportunity of sorts to manage the city’s stormwater runoff with “blue-green infrastructure”. The open spaces allows for urban planners and city leaders to contemplate using such techniques as reforestation, rainwater gardens and even unearthing old streams to create more natural systems for the runoff to flow through, instead of constructing expensive big-pipe stormwater treatment facilities. 

  – Get the full story.


New Funds Boosts Water Quality Trading in the Ohio River Basin

The Electric Power Research Institute’s Ohio River Basin Water Quality Trading Project, a winner of the US Water Prize, received a total of $2 million in public and private funds, including $300,000 from the US Department of Agriculture as a Conservation Innovation Grant. The nonprofit says it will use the funds to expand the scope of the project, adding reforestation as a conservation practice and exploring stacking nutrient credits with those of greenhouse gas emissions. 

  – Read a press release here.

A Lesson in Water Conservation and Sustainable Business from Anheuser-Busch InBev

Anheuser-Busch InBev, currently the world’s largest brewery, is taking a holistic approach to water management. At its Fort Collins brewery in Colorado the company has implemented practices like reusing water from the pasteurizing process and drought-resistant barley. The company is also partnered with local organizations and The Nature Conservancy to restore nearby forests to their natural state through prescribed fires and thinning treatments, minimizing the risk of catastrophic wildfire and its effects on water quality.

  – Learn more here.

Multi-Million Dollar Makeovers for Gulf Coast States Hit by Oil Spill

This month the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) announced funding for 22 projects in four Gulf Coast states: Alabama, Florida, Mississippi and Texas. The $80 million allocated for this coastal restoration work is through the NFWF’s Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund, which receives and administers funds flowing from legal agreements over the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. 

  &ndasndash; Get coverage here.

Metsä Board Earns a Seat at CDP’s Table of Water Champions

Last month, CDP released its global water report, which included a ranking of the best companies in terms of water stewardship and sustainable water management. The Finnish paper and pulp company Metsä Board found itself on the list. The company launched activities to improve its water use in 2013 and has since developed methods to return 95% of the water it uses back to source after a careful cleaning. 

  – Get coverage here.

The Next Best Thing to an App for Green Infrastructure

AutoDesk, an engineering and architecture software company, is encouraging Washington D.C. to rethink its stormwater pollution with green infrastructure using the company’s modeling software, which allows cities and companies to assess the benefits and cost of “sustainable designs” in particular areas. D.C. already has programs including the Stormwater Retention Credit Trading Program and the RiverSmart Rewards Program in place to help manage sewage overflows and other forms of water pollution. 

  – Read more from GreenBiz.

Senior Program Associate

Forest Trends, Public Private Co-Finance Initiative – Washington DC, USA

Conserving forested ecosystems for the services they provide – including regulating our climate and mitigating anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions – while also producing food, fiber, and fuel for our burgeoning human population, is one of the greatest challenges today. Furthermore, transforming land use to low emissions production systems is costly and requires substantial financing. Our Public Private Co-Finance Initiative works at this nexus and is strategically focused on creating public/private architectures that increase the amount of capital flowing to land use practices that reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation, improve the productivity of agricultural and livestock systems, and enhance livelihoods of rural populations. We work with public- and private-sector partners to create innovative, integrated, and efficient financial architecture.

The senior associate supports Forest Trends initiatives focusing on analyzing market data, public and private capital flows and instruments to support conservation, investors, investment vehicles, and on-the-ground projects and stakeholders such as supply chain actors and producers. Primary responsibilities include: (1) supporting and carrying out research; (2) analyzing trends and data; (3) writing and editing reports and articles; (4) supporting design of new financial instruments and mechanisms (5) facilitating internal and external communication; and (6) tracking and coordinating grant and project deliverables.

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Ceres – Boston MA, USA

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  – Learn more here.

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World Resources Institute, Global Forest Watch – Washington DC or San Francisco CA, USA

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2015 International Water and Climate Forum

Focusing on the implementation of climate adaptation and mitigation strategies, the Forum will provide urban water and wastewater utility managers with ideas, tools and resources for mainstreaming climate change considerations into their strategic planning and operations. The Forum is organized by AMWA, Water Research Foundation, American Water Works Association, International Water Association, Water Services Association of Australia and Water Utility Climate Alliance. 7-9 December 2015. San Diego CA, USA.

  – Learn more here.

Webinar: How to Build and Grow a Watershed Fund

Join Marcus Selig of the National Forest Foundation and Rebecca Davidson of the Salt River Project as we talk about building and growing a watershed investment fund. The National Forest Foundation has been a part of many watershed funds, including the Northern Arizona Forest Fund. Learn from Marcus how they build new partnerships for watershed restoration. Rebecca will share with us SRP’s strategy for securing different income streams to grow the Northern Arizona Forrest Fund. 16 December 2015. 11:00 am Pacific Time. Online.

  – Register here.



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