The project is fostering a paradigm change that could transform the way the world’s watersheds are valued and managed. Investing in naturalinfrastructure – such as wetlands, streams, and forests that cancapture, filter, and store freshwater – is emerging as one of the mostcost-effective solutions to the global water crisis.
Payments for Watershed Services are now exceeding 10 billion USD annually worldwide and are becoming a sustainable alternative to costly traditional infrastructure from mega-cities such as Beijing and New York City to small villages in Bolivia.
Achieving sustainable water management is arguably one of the greatest challenges facing the world today. To meet post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals, the world will need massive amounts of new or upgraded water infrastructure.
This urgent need to address the water crisis has created an opportunity for sustainable solutions that incorporate a natural infrastructure approach. This does not mean abandoning traditional ‘grey’ infrastructure but rather including natural infrastructure as an important part of the mix.
The term Investing in Watershed Services (IWS) includes a wide range of financial mechanisms – ranging from direct cash payments, to tradable credits, to technical assistance – that all focus on providing incentives for investing in natural infrastructure for water.
IWS also supports implementation of IWRM because it needs a watershed approach, engagement with a broad range of stakeholder groups, and the balancing of the needs of multiple water users in a watershed.
To scale up payments and investments in watershed services as a cost-effective means to address the global water crisis and improve livelihoods.