This Week In Water: You Gotta Accentuate The Positive

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.

This article was initially posted in the Water Log newsletter. Click here to read in its original format.

28 January 2016 | Greetings! It’s like clockwork at this point: the release of the World Economic Forum’s annual list of global risks once again finds water in the top three threats to people on this planet. But as we compiled this month’s Water Log, we noticed (with a few notable exceptions) that the news cycle barely registered that fact.

The good news is that instead, news has been dominated by potential solutions to the wicked problem water represents.

Water quality trading markets are finding new places and ways to grow, for market is in the works for Lake Erie, backed by the Great Lakes commission and a US Department of Agriculture grant. That trading program will be modeled on Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI)’s Ohio River Basin Trading Project. This month, we have in-depth coverage of EPRI’s work in the Ohio Basin, as the project continues to push the boundaries of trading design (and find those elusive credit buyers), experimenting with impact investment and carbon-nutrient credit stacking.

Elsewhere, legal battles over the Chesapeake Bay TMDL continue to grind on. But Maryland recently affirmed that making progress on nutrient trading to meet the TMDL and clean up the Chesapeake was a top priority for the state.

This month also has coverage of a new watershed investment project in South Africa backed by agricultural insurer Santam, an update on a forthcoming water standard for climate bonds, and a Credit Suisse-McKinsey Center for Business and Environment report on developing new conservation asset classes for private investors. Frankly, this morning we’d rather read about these efforts than focus on all of the negatives identified by the World Economic Forum.

Don’t forget to take a look at our jobs section below. There are some great new positions listed this month. 

Happy reading,

— The Ecosystem Marketplace Team

For questions or comments, please contact [email protected]

EM Headlines


Multi-State Water Program Hopes To Stand On Its Own Two Feet In 2016

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.

Ecosystem Marketplace has the story.

Brazil’s Rondônia State To Launch System Of Payments For Ecosystem Services

Like the state of Acre before it, the Brazilian state of Rondônia aims to develop a jurisdiction-wide system of economic incentives for good land stewardship based in part on payments for ecosystem services that funnel money from industry to programs that support natural water systems and forests – including those that reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD). Ecosystem Marketplace caught up to Environment Secretary Vilson de Salles Machado at December’s climate talks in Paris to discuss the role of REDD+ and indigenous people.

Read it here.

Opinion: The Next Hollywood Blockbuster on Cities, Technology & the Unexpected Role of Nature

Los Angeles is languishing under a toxic plume of methane, while the people of Flint, Michigan, can’t drink their water. Everywhere you look, modern cities are suffering dystopian dilemmas that can easily be remedied by partnering with nature, says Sissel Waage.

Keep reading here.

In The News


Politics Blocking Kenya’s Chance to Apply Water-Energy-Food Nexus Thinking

The Climate and Development Knowledge Network released information on its water-energy-food nexus initiative in Kenya, where the government is increasingly distributing authority over resource management to counties, which focused on integrative approaches. Using an interactive mapping tool from the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAL), researchers determined there’s a long way to go before truly integrated practices to address water-energy-food nexus issues play out as key stakeholders undermine integration and big barriers remain when engaging with the private sector.

Learn more at CDKN.

Legal Action Puts Chesapeake Bay Pollution Limits in Question

Last summer, a federal appeals court in Philadelphia upheld the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to set pollution limits for the Chesapeake Bay. But then a number of organizations, including the American Farm Bureau Federation, asked the US Supreme Court to review that decision. The federal government, perhaps as expected, has asked the high court not to take the case.

Get analysis from Law360.
Click here for more background on the Chesapeake TMDL.

Maryland Continues to Highlight Water Quality Trading for Chesapeake Bay Cleanup

During a symposium in Maryland on the Chesapeake Bay watershed, the Maryland Department of Environment Secretary said making progress on nutrient trading markets was a top priority when it came to the Chesapeake Bay, though the approach to water quality isn’t without skeptics. Those opposed are concerned about environmental damages and whether trading can achieve tangible reductions in pollution.

Read more here.

Dismantling US Clean Water Rule Proves Difficult for Lawmakers

Despite US President Barack Obama’s promise to lawmakers that he will veto any challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers’ Clean Water Rule, Congress charged ahead with attempts to unravel the rule this month, which offers jurisdictional clarifications on waterways covered under the Clean Water Act. Early in the month, the House passed a resolution seeking to block enforcement and prevent the government from passing a similar rule, and Obama vetoed it, as promised. Then, in a long-shot maneuver, the Senate moved to override the veto and muster the necessary congressional votes, but the measure failed, falling 60 votes short. The rule remains where it was – stayed nationwide.

Learn more at the blog ‘The Hill.’


Can Water Quality Trading Save Algae-Plagued Lake Erie?

The Great Lakes Commission is planning to implement a water quality trading program in the western basin of Lake Erie, which is plagued with massive algal blooms each year caused in part by agriculture runoff. The multi-state agency, which received a $400,000 grant from the Department of Agriculture to test and develop a trading program over the next three years, will model it off the Electric Power Research Institute’s Ohio River Basin Trading Project.

The Great Lakes Echo has coverage.

Water Woes Linked to Social, Economic Conflict

The World Economic Forum (WEF) ranked water crises as number three on its annual list of global risks, identifying water as the root cause of several of 2015’s upheavals including mass migrations to Europe and historic droughts and floods in the US and elsewhere. The WEF also dedicates a section of the report to the connections between water, climate change and conflict.

Read more from Circle of Blue.

New Ideas to Scale Up Conservation Finance

Credit Suisse together with the McKinsey Center for Business and Environment published a report this month on scaling up emerging private sector investment in conservation. Report authors note that any significant increase in investments requires serious collaboration between the finance and environment sectors. The publication includes a toolkit of concrete approaches that can be scaled and replicated.

Read it at Environmental Finance.

US Environment Agency Spurs Finance for Green Stormwater Management

The US Environmental Protection Agency announced this month some new funding initiatives, including a clearinghouse for stormwater finance. The clearinghouse aims to help communities develop revenue streams for green infrastructure projects to help manage stormwater.

Learn more here.

South African Watershed Restoration Project has an Unlikely Funder

In an effort to reduce risk, South Africa’s largest agricultural insurer, Santam, is funding a watershed restoration project in the Baviaanskloof region. The project is aimed a delivering a steady and secure supply of water to downstream urban areas. The project depends on local cooperation and stakeholder engagement: Santam admits its strength is in understanding risks, not ecosystems. The risk analysis the company generates from this project contributes to municipal disaster planning and sustainable land-use.

The Guardian has the story.

Seeing the Connection between Climate and Water just got Easier for Investors

The connection between climate and water is increasingly accepted, especially after the Paris climate talks. In 2016 the Climate Bonds Initiative is launching a new water-climate bond standard, which establishes a certification process designed to help investors identify the pros and cons of water-related bond investments like wastewater treatment plants, irrigation schemes and watershed restoration. The certification is rigorous but CBI says there is strong demand, especially from long-term investors like pension funds. If successful, the standard could substantially influence private investment in the water sector.

Learn more from Circle of Blue.

From Donor Based to Investor Based: The Future of Conservation

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is looking hard at nontraditional sources of funding for conservation, such as instruments that deliver investment returns. TNC harnessed almost $200M in 2015 in impact capital to fund conservation projects like managing stormwater runoff in Washington D.C. with green infrastructure. Now, it’s looking for ways to scale up projects that deliver a cash flow, providing both conservation benefits and returns for investors.

GreenBiz has coverage.

Sourcing Associate/ Manager

Natural Capital Partners – London, UK or US East Coast

Located in London or the East Coast of the United States, the individual will work alongside the sourcing team to source supply of environmental instruments (carbon, renewable energy and other as relevant), to conduct due diligence and impact evaluation, manage supplier relationships, and work internally with business development teams to prepare portfolio solutions for existing clients and prospects.

Learn more here.

Senior Project Manager, Responsible Production

Proforest – Oxford, UK

Based in Oxford, UK, the Senior Project Manager will help Proforest grow its consultancy services in responsible production. Proforest currently works with major brands such as Unilever and Nestlé and producers such as Olam and Wilmar. The successful candidate will have a master’s degree or higher in a relevant discipline and a minimum of five years of relevant work experience. Fluency in French and English is required.

Learn more here.

Senior Consultant, Corporate Sustainability

South Pole Group – Bangkok, Thailand

Based in Bangkok, Thailand, the Senior Consultant will plan, coordinate and manage projects and consultancy mandates related to corporate sustainability, and liaise with clients on a project basis. The successful candidate will have a university degree in environmental sciences or a related field; at least five years of relevant experience in project management and consultancy; and a sound understanding of environmental sustainability challenges in multinational companies.

Learn more here.

Green Securitization Project Manager

Climate Bonds Initiative – London, UK

The Climate Bonds Initiative is looking for a Green Securitisation Project Manager to join us to manage the newly launched ‘Climate Aggregation Platform’ (CAP), a collaborative project between Climate Bonds Initiative and UNDP. The Climate Aggregation Platform aims to put aggregation concepts into practice for climate investments in emerging economies. We’re looking for an experienced hire with previous project management experience and demonstrable working knowledge of fixed income/securitisation.

Key tasks:

  • Manage existing and new relationships
  • Project planning and management
  • Analyze barriers and opportunities for securitisation in different markets and for potential issuers
  • Work with banks on structuring securitisation deals

Learn more here.

Policy Analyst

Climate Bonds Initiative – London, UK

We’re looking for a Policy Analyst to join us to work on our green bond policy and government advisory work.

Key tasks:

  • Develop work streams around growing new bond markets in emerging economies
  • Research and write high-level policy reports
  • Write analysis and commentary on key policy developments
  • Present findings to policymakers and other stakeholders

Learn more here.


National Mitigation and Ecosystem Banking Conference

Headed to Texas in 2016, we invite you to join us at this incredible conference on mitigation, conservation & ecosystem banking! Entering its 19th year, this Conference is well established as a “must attend event” for those in ecosystem banking, offering sessions for the very advanced to those new to banking. Founded in 1997 with a diverse steering committee of leaders in the regulatory, banking and environmental community, this is the first – and only – National hands-on conference focused on mitigation, conservation and ecosystem banking to protect wetlands, endangered species and other natural resources. It is well known for bringing together key stakeholders to explore policy & practice, share successes and failures, and learn about trends, science and emerging markets. 10-13 May 2016. Fort Worth TX, USA.

Learn more here.

World Water Week 2016: Water for Sustainable Growth

World Water Week in Stockholm is the annual focal point for the globe’s water issues. It is organized by SIWI. Last year was the jubilee year for both the Week and the Stockholm Water Prize. The theme was Water for Development. In 2015, over 3,000 individuals and close to 300 convening organizations from 130 countries participated in the Week. Experts, practitioners, decision-makers, business innovators and young professionals from a range of sectors and countries come to Stockholm to network, exchange ideas, foster new thinking and develop solutions to the most pressing water-related challenges of today. We believe water is key to our future prosperity, and that together, we can achieve a water wise world. 27 August – 2 September 2016. Stockholm, Sweden. 

Learn more here.

EcoSummit 2016

The 5th International EcoSummit Congress, EcoSummit 2016 – Ecological Sustainability: Engineering Change, will centre on the ecology of terrestrial ecosystems and all habitats that are integrated within those ecosystems, including river networks, wetlands and coastlines. Focus will be placed on fragile ecosystems that are more likely to suffer the consequences of climate change and anthropogenic pressure. However, in the current context of an increasing world population, changes in social habit (increasing world consumerism) and climate change, it is evident that agriculture is being intensified but with a growing awareness of the need to preserve and use sustainably world resources. Therefore, we will also address how terrestrial restoration can be carried out when the massive demand for food results in fragile ecosystems, forests and marginal lands being turned over to agriculture. The closing date for abstract submission is 15 February 2016. 29 August – 1 September 2016. Montpelier, France. 

Learn more here.

2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Council has selected Hawaii, United States of America, as the host of the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress – the world’s largest conservation event. Held every four years, the Congress brings together leaders from government, the public sector, non-governmental organizations, business, UN agencies and indigenous and grass-roots organizations to discuss and decide on solutions to the world’s most pressing environment and development challenges. 1-10 September 2016. Hawaii, USA.

Learn more here.

IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition

The IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition is the global event for water professionals. It offers new insights into how pioneering science, technological innovation and leading practices shape the major transformation in water management that is underway. It draws over 5,500 of the top water, environment and related professionals from more than 100 countries from across the water sector, including thought leaders from within and beyond the water sector. 9-13 September 2016. Brisbane, Australia.

Learn more here.

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