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Ecosystem Marketplace, Water Log  


From the Editors 


Ensuring water supply and sanitation is a job nearly as old as civilization. Archaeological excavations have found ancient sewage systems in Pakistan and India dating to 2500 BC. Aqueducts built by the Romans still crisscross Europe and are even, in a few cases, still in use. In the highlands of Peru, pre-Incan stone canals called amunas to this day help store rainy-season downpours for dry months.

Fast-forward to 2016 and the job has gotten pretty complicated. Climate change threatens to disrupt existing water supply while economic crises have followed one after another, hollowing out public budgets for much-needed improvements and upgrades to water infrastructure systems.

However, factor into this status quo a growing realization among the business community, policy-makers and water utilities that nature is not merely "nice to have" but rather a critical asset in ensuring that everyone on the planet has access to clean, safe water and sanitation. 

This realization that nature is integral to a healthy society is indeed growing, according to Ecosystem Marketplace's latest report, Alliances for Green Infrastructure: State of Watershed Investment 2016, published today. 

The report aims to capture the size, scale and scope of market mechanisms for green infrastructure for water, and report authors found that in 2015 governments, water utilities, companies and communities around the world paid nearly $25 billion for nature-based solutions that deliver secure reliable and clean water. This finance resulted in the protection, rehabilitation or creation of 486 million hectares of land - an area 1.5 times the size of India - while also delivering "beyond-water" benefits such as biodiversity conservation, climate adaptation and sustainable land management training for local communities.

For a deep-dive into the results, you can download our report and watch a webinar recording summarizing its major findings, as well as insights from experts in the field representing The Nature Conservancy and Washington D.C.'s Department of Energy and Environment. 

All this and more are summarized below. Happy reading and happy New Year!

- The Ecosystem Marketplace team


Latest News

Close To $25 Billion Spent To Secure Green Infrastructure Worldwide In 2015

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 last week.

Get coverage and summary findings here.

Cities Across US Developing “Green Infrastructure” Solutions, But Struggling To Find Funding

The city of Chicago is planting millions of trees and “greening” its alleys to mop up stormwater and reduce the urban “heat island” effect, while the City of Hoboken, New Jersey – which took the brunt of Hurricane Sandy’s impact in 2012 – is restoring marshes and turning vacant land into a “resiliency park” that will mop up at least one million gallons of floodwater. 

Both cities are featured in a working paper called Roadmap to Support Local Climate Resilience, which grew out of October’s Rising Tides Summit in New Hampshire, where 36 mayors from cities in 18 of the 23 coastal US states gathered with federal disaster relief officials to chart a course towards resilience in the age of climate change.

Read more at Ecosystem Marketplace.

Trump Inheriting Healthy System of Environmental Markets, New Data Shows

US President-Elect Donald Trump is inheriting a healthy system of ecosystem markets, thanks in part to measures implemented by the Obama administration, but the exact growth has been difficult to quantify and understand. A new Atlas of Ecosystem Markets aims to change that by distilling data from several sources into a clear, simple, mapping tool for regulators, researchers, and users.

Keep reading.

Post-Hurricane Matthew: How Can We Restore Waterways To Better Protect Communities?

The large floodplains and broad vegetated buffers of a stream restoration site near Raleigh, North Carolina significantly reduced flooding when Hurricane Matthew tore through the state. As the frequency of extreme weather events is only expected to rise, developing with nature in mind is increasingly critical, says Environmental Defense Fund’s Paxton Ramsdell.

Ecosystem Marketplace has the story.


Start-up Pitches Forest Resilience Bond to Fix California's Fire and Water Woes

A fledgling San Francisco start-up called Blue Forest Conservation aims to use impact investing to address two of California's biggest challenges: fire and water. The firm plans to use the proceeds from a forest-resilience bond to pay for forest thinning treatments to reduce fire intensity, which should mean cleaner, more secure water flowing downstream to farms and faucets.

Read more at the Los Angeles Times.

Pepsi Replenishes Thirst and Watersheds In Latin America

Last month, PepsiCo announced a new project to replenish watersheds around five of Latin America's biggest cities, water-stressed regions where the beverage giant also has operations. PepsiCo says it plans to use green infrastructure and work with local communities to restore watersheds and aquifers.

Keep reading at Green Biz.


Murray-Darling Basin Authority Rethinks Water Buybacks After Reports of Job Losses

Australian government officials and the Murray-Darling Basin Authority are recommending a reduction in water buybacks after a MDBA review revealed farmers in the southern parts of New South Wales and Queensland were hit hard by the program. The Authority says the reduction in buybacks will help the program meet a sensible balance though indigenous and environmental groups aren't so sure.

Read more at ABC.

Incentivizing Michigan Property Owners to Go Green

Michigan is one of the many regions struggling to keep up with stormwater runoff using aged infrastructure it can't afford to upgrade. Some Michigan lawmakers, however, are pushing for a greener approach with new legislation that would allow cities and utilities to collect fees rather than property taxes for stormwater runoff and grant credits against green infrastructure capital projects.

Crain's Detroit Business has more.

Does California Need a Long-term Conservation Plan?

California is heading into its fifth year of drought, leading state water regulators to recommend long-term conservation planning. Among the provisions they're suggesting: tighter oversight on agriculture's water use and a permanent ban on over-watering urban lawns.

Reuters has the details.

US Government Expands Wildlife and Wetlands Conservation Program

The US Department of Agriculture's Conservation Reserve Program, which helps farmers and ranchers implement conservation measures that benefit wildlife and wetlands, is getting a few upgrades. The department announced a new initiative aimed at improving water quality while funneling an additional $1.1 million and 1 million acres into the program.

Learn more here.

US Agriculture Department Announces Multi-Million Dollar Investment in Watersheds

The US Department of Agriculture is investing $33 million in nearly 200 high-priority watersheds across the US through the National Water Quality Initiative. The program helps farmers and ranchers implement voluntary conservation practices such as cover crops and filter strips, which improve water quality and agricultural productivity.

Read the USDA press release for more information.


Corporate Water Risk on the Rise

More than a quarter of the 600 companies surveyed for CDP's latest water report, released during last month's climate talks, said water-related issues had affected their bottom line. Drought, water scarcity and stricter environmental regulations cost businesses $14 billion in 2016.

The Guardian has the details.

This year, CDP's Water A List grew to 24 companies with a few repeats - Ford and Colgate Palmolive among them - from last year.

Environmental Leader reports on the list.



Ecosystem Marketplace is an initiative of Forest Trends, a tax-exempt corporation under Section 501(c)3. This newsletter and other dimensions of our market tracking programs are funded by a series of international development agencies, philanthropic foundations, and private sector organizations. For more information on donating to Ecosystem Marketplace, please contact info@ecosystemmarketplace.com.

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