de la Alianza Latinoamericana de Fondos de Agua
Red de Fondos de América Latina de la Alianza Latinoamericana de Fondos de Agua
Partnership
Water Funds Training By offering a best practices approach, a key goal of the Water Funds Training is to build the capacity of local and regional Water Funds practitioners to scope, design, create, operate, and monitor Water Funds. © Kevin Arnold

This tool was designed by professionals who work in the design and creation of Water Funds with the aim of being used by other professionals of the Water Funds community. This toolbox compiles the best practices found at a global level to design and create Water Funds. The Toolbox is not a static web product. It is an iterative repository of knowledge that will help local, regional and global actors to explore and define if the Water Funds model is relevant. The Toolbox was created from key publications such as the 'Water Funds Manual' (2012), as well as the Desired State methodology developed by the Latin American Water Funds Alliance, and was subsequently tested in the field, improved and launched on the new website (2018).

Relevant links: https://waterfundstoolbox.org

Water Funds Training

A Knowledge library

The Water Funds Training provides practitioners with an innovative approach for learning the process for developing and implementing a Water Fund. This Training combines both online and in-person engagements to equip students with an understanding of key concepts related to Water Funds and stepwise guidance for completing each phase of the Water Funds Project Cycle.

By offering a best practices approach, a key goal of the Water Funds Training is to build the capacity of local and regional Water Funds practitioners to scope, design, create, operate, and monitor Water Funds. This Training aims to achieve this goal by providing a structured, multi-faceted approach that combines stepwise guidance with applied examples, coaching support, and a peer-learning environment.

a young man smiles
Water governance diagnosis How could Water Funds address water scarcity? © Alexandro Abbadie Auler/TNC Photo Contest 2019

Water Governance Diagnosis

The responsibility of managing water sustainably belongs to civil society, the government and the private sector. To achieve this, it is essential to articulate a shared vision and an efficient decision system based on science that promotes and triggers coordinated collective action.

This document represents the effort of the FEMSA Foundation to strengthen water governance, one of the fundamental foundations for building a resilient system that can timely face the challenges of today and tomorrow. With help from the School of Government and Public Transformation and guided by the OECD Principles of Water Governance, FEMSA developed a tool that casts a diagnosis and provides a quick and pragmatic understanding of water governance.

Although it intends to apply it in any geography, this piece of work shows the case of Nuevo León. We hope it is useful for all people who dedicate their lives to achieve and maintain a state of water security and for it to be the beginning of an open dialogue and collaborative work with any organization that seeks similar objectives.

Opportunities to achieve long-term financing for natural infrastructure and water security in Latin America.

Technical documents that are being developed

The report shows the results of a comparative analysis conducted for five countries in Latin America (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico) to identify opportunities to obtain long-term public resources to invest in natural infrastructure in order to improve water security.

The study was conducted from a homogeneous analytical framework that was applied in all countries through interviews and documentary research. The results of the analysis are aggregated by country and these are compared to identify where the most favorable conditions exist to access these resources.

The main results that can be found in the report are: 

  • Reports for each of the five countries, which describe the current public policies, the main actors and the framework for public financing related to watershed management and the protection of water sources;

  • An evaluation to establish opportunities to access resources based on the following elements: existence of a political leader in the subject matter; political opportunity; presence of a support coalition; level of understanding and political support regarding the specific issue; which are the most viable funding sources; what are the main barriers faced in each country. 

​            For more information contact Hugo Contreras: hacontreras@tnc.org

            Relevant links: https://tnc.box.com/s/kdm6el6ldbh0t2omjutyujqb5raq6k0e

 

How could Water Funds address water scarcity?

Feasibility evaluation

 The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the University of Oxford have established a three-year partnership to develop, test and extend incentives for the sustainable use of water, including the development of water transactions and profitable investment in the efficiency of water use. Water. The Oxford team will partner with TNC to assess the feasibility of sharing scarce water supplies through agricultural, urban and environmental needs, and identify the role of the Water Fund in addressing competition.

The partners will evaluate the available data regarding the key factors, barriers and enabling conditions for:

Mapping the system: select the city of interest with partners and define the hydrological and infrastructure systems that connect with the agricultural areas.

Estimate spatial water budgets: current and projected regional water budgets at the highest possible spatial and temporal resolution.

Compare the value of water: the economic value of water in its current uses according to the marginal productivity of water in different uses and different geographical regions.

Evaluate the potential for the distribution of benefits: Identification of the technical potential and economic benefits and beneficiaries of irrigation efficiency.

Evaluate enabling conditions and limiting factors: assess key enabling conditions and limiting factors, including infrastructure, government, financing and monitoring requirements.

​For more information, contact Hugo Contreras: hacontreras@tnc.org

The Quito Water Fund, also known as FONAG, protects watersheds supplying the capital’s 2 million people with 80 percent of their freshwater, Quito, Ecuador.  The project, which began in 2000, receives monthly contributions from Quito’s water and electric companies to produce nearly  million each year in disbursements for conservation projects in the surrounding watersheds.
Science for Nature and People Partnershi Teams include academic experts in scientific fields directly relevant to the key questions, representatives of governments, multilateral institutions, and the private sector, practitioners from conservation, humanitarian, sustainable development, cultural, and spiritual organizations. © Erika Nortemann/TNC

Hydro-BID 

Hydro-BID is a simulation tool created by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to support the management and planning of water resources in the Latin America and the Caribbean region. We have been working hand in hand with regional and local water utility companies to learn more about their water management challenges, so we can provide them with better support and training. Hydro-BID is currently being piloted in Argentina, Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, and Haiti.

Hydro-BID intervention areas are: water balance and flows calculations at regional, basin or sub-basin scales, forecast climate change effects on the availability and variability of water resources, development of water resource management plans, risk management for floods and droughts. 

 

LAWFP - RBIS 

The River Basin Information System (RBIS) is a free software platform for the organization and analysis of information specific to watershed management projects. Developed by the University of Jena in Germany, since 2016 it has been implemented and improved by the Latin American Water Funds Partnership as the recommended tool for information management in Water Funds design and operation stages 11 RBIS platforms managed by The Nature Conservancy in Latin America and Africa have been implemented to support the work teams of 16 Water Funds. These platforms gather information from the design and monitoring efforts on these Water Funds, adding meteorological, hydrological and geospatial data from the multiple providers and organizations involved in these Funds, each considering RBIS as the focal point for accessing information needed to understand the current state of the basins where the partnership work and to analyze the impacts of its projects.

 

ITT/TNC SmartSense monitoring equipment

Since 2017, we have been working with the Institute for the Management of Natural Resources and Technology in the Tropics of the University of Cologne in Germany (ITT-TH Koln) in the development of low-cost technologies that monitor the environmental impact in Water Funds. Based on the wide range of low-cost sensors derived from the field of Internet of Things (IoT), work has been done on the development of low-cost tailor-made monitoring equipment that responds to the needs of water funds for measuring different variables. Initially, these sensors have the potential to capture meteorological, hydrometric and vegetation data. This technological package is designed to be automatically compatible with the RBIS data management platforms that are already operational in 16 water funds, thus constituting an integrated software and hardware solution tailored to our projects.
 

Science for Nature and People Partnership (SNAPP): 

SNAPP has engaged more than 450 institutions and 1000 experts from nearly 60 countries in 36 teams of scientists and stakeholders since 2013. A SNAPP team is a multi-disciplinary group of experts representing a broad suite of sectors, institutions, and specialties who would not otherwise convene around a targeted, complex challenge. 

Teams include academic experts in scientific fields directly relevant to the key questions, representatives of governments, multilateral institutions, and the private sector, practitioners from conservation, humanitarian, sustainable development, cultural, and spiritual organizations. To date, these teams have produced over 330 tools and other science-to-solution “products,” including over 80 peer-reviewed papers, and at least eight spin-off initiatives have sprung from their work. SNAPP teams work to find solutions to critical challenges such as: food security, water and nature, nature-based solutions, the value of nature. 

Within this partnership, there are two tools that specifically address water management and conservation: 

 

This interactive dashboard allows key stakeholders, such as the Latin American Conservation Council and Inter-American Development Bank, to explore urban water source risks and beneficial conservation efforts. The tool provides metrics for population, water quantity flood mitigation, water quality riparian restoration, and reforestation. The resulting analysis and comparisons will help policymakers evaluate the strengths and limitations of watershed strategies in major Latin American cities. Of all cities included in the dashboard, the city of Bucaramanga had the highest potential return on investment (ROI) for watershed conservation. 

 

This online tool allows users to quickly measure the potential for five common watershed conservation activities to reduce sediment and nutrient pollution in a source watershed. This tool will describe for each source watershed its land cover and estimate its pollutant loading. It will also return for each watershed the amount of conservation effort (in area or cost) needed to achieve a 1%, 5%, 10%, and 20% reduction in pollution. 

 

Natural Capital Project

NatCap is a partnership of four world-class academic institutions – Stanford University, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the University of Minnesota, and the Stockholm Resilience Centre – advancing new science together with, inspired by, and implemented through two of the world’s largest NGOs, The Nature Conservancy and World Wildlife Fund. 

Starting with listening, the partnership works with decision-makers to develop solutions. We use iterative engagement that begins with stakeholders and their needs, so the new science and tools that we develop are immediately relevant and can be incorporated into existing decision processes. We work in a wide array of places and sectors, developing nature-based solutions to problems as varied as: building resilience to climate and coastal hazards; guiding development planning; managing corporate risk in global sourcing decisions; informing impact assessment and permitting; making smart transportation loan decisions; targeting investments in forest restoration. In addition to developing the evidence for the power of natural capital approaches to transform decisions, we create software (now downloaded in 160 countries), build capacity through learning exchanges and trainings, and engage leaders to accelerate the uptake and magnify the impact of successes to date.

Within this partnership, it is important to mention two tools that address water management:

InVEST is a suite of free, open-source software models used to map and value the goods and services from nature that sustain and fulfill human life. InVEST enables decision makers to assess quantified tradeoffs associated with alternative management choices and to identify areas where investment in natural capital can enhance human development and conservation.  The toolset currently includes eighteen distinct ecosystem service models designed for terrestrial, freshwater, marine, and coastal ecosystems, as well as a number of “helper tools” to assist with locating and processing input data and with understanding and visualizing outputs.​

Within the InVEST tool, it is relevant to mention four models that address water security:

  • Reservoir Hydropower Production (Water Yield)

The InVEST Reservoir Hydropower Production model (also known as the “Water Yield model”) estimates the annual average quantity of water produced by a watershed. The economic model then estimates the value of the water yield for reservoir hydropower production. It calculates the relative contribution of each land parcel to annual average water yield and production of hydropower, values this contribution in terms of energy production, and calculates the net present value of hydropower production over the life of the reservoir. Spatially-explicit outputs of relative water yields can identify areas contributing the most to hydropower value and inform how changes in the landscape will alter that contribution. User’s guide.

  • Sediment Retention

The InVEST Sediment Retention model estimates the capacity of a land parcel to retain sediment by using information on geomorphology, climate, vegetative coverage and management practices. A land parcel’s estimated soil loss and sediment transport informs the service step of the InVEST model, which produces outputs in terms of avoided sedimentation. The model can also value the landscape in terms of water quality maintenance or avoided reservoir sedimentation, and determines how land use changes may impact the cost of sediment removal. User’s guide

  • Water Purification

The InVEST Nutrient Delivery Ratio model maps nutrient sources from watersheds and their transport to the stream. This spatial information can be used to assess the service of nutrient retention by natural vegetation. Model outputs can inform conservation efforts by targeting areas of soil and vegetation that most effectively clean water supply for people and aquatic life. User’s guide

We are creating a data and modeling platform called Urban InVEST that provides information and analytics to developers, lenders, municipal governments, consultants and advocacy groups. Urban InVEST features spatially explicit biophysical and socio-economic models that enable users to quantify and map the impacts of alternative urban designs on multiple urban ecosystem services (e.g. urban water management, heat island mitigation, mental health benefits), showing the benefits and costs to communities by socioeconomic status and vulnerability.

RIOS

RIOS supports the design of cost-effective investments in watershed services. The Resource Investment Optimization System (RIOS) provides a standardized, science-based approach to watershed management in contexts throughout the world. It combines biophysical, social, and economic data to help users identify the best locations for protection and restoration activities to maximize the ecological return on investment, within the bounds of what is socially and politically feasible.

 

 

Volunteers and employees of The Nature Conservancy of Wyoming participate in the annual Butterfly Blitz at the Conservancy's Red Canyon Ranch, an opportunity to collect and document Wyoming’s beautiful butterflies. Image size: 6.6 by 10 inches at 300 dpi. Photo credit: © Kerry Brophy Lloyd/TNC
Guia Documents The purpose of these documents is to help people work in the Water Funds. © Kerry Brophy Lloyd/TNC
  • Natural Infrastructure for Water of the Guandu System, Rio de Janeiro

  • Natural infrastructure in São Paulo’s Water System

  • Water Security in Monterrey Metropolitan Area and the Río Pánuco Basin

  • The Greater Cape Town Water Fund Assessing the Return on Investment for Ecological Infrastructure Restoration Business Case

  • Upper Tana-Nairobi Water Fund Innovation at the Nexus of Water, Food, Energy, and Business

  • A Primer for Monitoring Water Funds  The purpose of this document is to help people working in the Water Funds understand their information needs and become familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of the different monitoring approaches. Here, critical information needs common to Water Fund projects are highlighted, summarizing issues and steps to follow in developing a monitoring program for a Water Funds.

  • Beyond the source Healthy watersheds are vital natural infrastructure for cities around the world as they capture, store, and filter water. They also provide benefits for the conservation of biodiversity, adaptation, and mitigation against climate change and human health and well-being. However, 40% of areas around river watersheds show significant levels of degradation. Protecting and restoring the natural infrastructure of the watersheds can directly improve the quality and amount of water available.

  • Urban water blueprint. This study examines the state of water in more than 500 cities around the world and reveals that nature has enormous potential to improve water quality for towns. Cities could potentially save $890 million a year in water treatment costs by investing in nature-based solutions in their watersheds, such as reforestation, wetlands, cover crops, etc.


     

    TECHNICAL DOCUMENTS THAT ARE BEING DEVELOPED

  • Opportunities to achieve long-term financing for natural infrastructure and water security in Latin America. 

    The report shows the results of a comparative analysis conducted for five countries in Latin America (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico) to identify opportunities to obtain long-term public resources to invest in natural infrastructure in order to improve water security. 

    The study was conducted from a homogeneous analytical framework that was applied in all countries through interviews and documentary research. The results of the analysis are aggregated by country and these are compared to identify where the most favorable conditions exist to access these resources.

    The main results that can be found in the report are: 

    Reports for each of the five countries, which describe the current public policies, the main actors and the framework for public financing related to watershed management and the protection of water sources;

    An evaluation to establish opportunities to access resources based on the following elements: existence of a political leader in the subject matter; political opportunity; presence of a support coalition; level of understanding and political support regarding the specific issue; which are the most viable funding sources; what are the main barriers faced in each country.

    For more information contact Hugo Contreras: hacontreras@tnc.org
    Relevant links: https://tnc.box.com/s/kdm6el6ldbh0t2omjutyujqb5raq6k0e


    Feasibility evaluation: how could Water Funds address water scarcity?

    The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the University of Oxford have established a three-year partnership to develop, test and extend incentives for the sustainable use of water, including the development of water transactions and profitable investment in the efficiency of water use. Water. The Oxford team will partner with TNC to assess the feasibility of sharing scarce water supplies through agricultural, urban and environmental needs, and identify the role of the Water Fund in addressing competition.

    The partners will evaluate the available data regarding the key factors, barriers and enabling conditions for:


    1. Mapping the system: select the city of interest with partners and define the hydrological and infrastructure systems that connect with the agricultural areas.

    2.Estimate spatial water budgets: current and projected regional water budgets at the highest possible spatial and temporal resolution.

    3.Compare the value of water: the economic value of water in its current uses according to the marginal productivity of water in different uses and different geographical regions.

    4.Evaluate the potential for the distribution of benefits: Identification of the technical potential and economic benefits and beneficiaries of irrigation efficiency.

    5.Evaluate enabling conditions and limiting factors: assess key enabling conditions and limiting factors, including infrastructure, government, financing and monitoring requirements.

    For more information, contact Hugo Contreras: hacontreras@tnc.org


    TOOLS THAT ARE BEING DEVELOPED

  • Water Funds app
    The Nature Conservancy is exploring the creation of a web-based open source tool that will determine if there are savings in water treatment costs by investing in green infrastructure in a given geography. The analysis of the return on investment completed by the tool is within the scope of a pre-feasibility water fund evaluation. It is expected that the tool will use data from the cloud to execute a series of hydrological models previously filled with global data sets and global assumptions, while offering the user the possibility to customize the entries of his/her own data.

    The objective is to carry out pre-feasibility evaluations, which are fundamental to involve leaders and decision makers, available at the earliest stage, at the lowest possible cost and specific to the geography in question. With this information in hand, and backed by powerful visual elements, The Nature Conservancy believes that it greatly unlocks the lack of political will and funds needed to scale the Water Funds globally.

  • Groundwater tool
    In conjunction with the Institute for the Management of Natural Resources and Technology in the Tropics of the University of Cologne in Germany (ITT-TH Koln) and the Autonomous University of San Luis Potosí de Mexico (UASLP), the Framework to Evaluate the Potential of Nature-Based Solutions to Contribute to Hydrogeological Resources, or Groundwater was formulated. Considering the number of cities and states that depend substantially on this type of water resources and that want to explore the potential of Water Funds as a complementary strategy to improve their water security, the Latin-American Water Fund Partnership decided to formulate a Guide that allows the evaluation of these opportunities and projects´ design that respond to these challenges

    The ongoing study will generate an analytical framework that allows the identification of relevant information and the logical process to address the design of Water Fund projects where groundwater resources are the main source of supply. This study includes the formulation of two pilot cases, one in Guatemala City and the other in Mexico City, where this Analysis Framework will be applied, aimed at investment decisions regarding nature-based solutions.

  • GoFor Unassisted Revegetation Assessment tool (TNC-NatCAP) in conjunction with the Tropical Forestry Laboratory of the University of Sao Paulo (LASTROP ESALQ USP), the International Institute for Sustainability (IIS RJ) and the Natural Capital Project (U. Stanford, U. Minnesota, WWF and The Nature Conservancy) The free GoFOR software tool was created to analyze the uncertainty of natural regeneration processes in tropical areas. Natural regeneration is the process by which areas degraded or transformed in watersheds are restored in areas of natural ecosystems that increase the supply of hydrological ecosystem services, by favoring natural processes that accelerate the recovery of these areas.


  • Although activities based on these natural processes are greatly implemented in Latin-American Water Funds due to their high cost-effectiveness, identifying the places where these activities have the highest probability of success is not an easy task. Complicated ecological processes related to the source-sink dynamics and population dynamics that occur during the natural restoration process must be considered to guarantee the maximum return on investment and the prompt response of the system to investments in the field. Based on the analysis of the success in the restoration of more than 300 natural regeneration plots in tropical areas around the world, a software tool (application or app) was formulated to evaluate-based on the size, shape and configuration of the remaining natural coverages- the ideal places to implement this type of activities with the least possible uncertainty.
Condor
INNOVATIONAL PROJECTS TNC and its Latin American partners seek to establish new national water coalitions in the region to scale their positive impact. © Mariana Alejandra Moscoso

Blue energy Project

Nature can bring sustainable and self-financed solutions to the sedimentation and water regulation problems that affect the hydroelectric sector in the watersheds where their assets are located.

Conservation International (“CI”) and The Nature Conservancy (“TNC”) innovate by structuring a pay-for-success model that will benefit both hydropower companies and nature. In this model, inspired from Project Finance structures, hydropower companies are off takers of ecosystem services and only pay for them once they materialize. The objective is to reduce their financial risk and engage them more effectively into conservation programs.

CI and TNC are currently selecting 3 pilots in Latin America to test and prove the Nature’s Blue Energy project concept and replicate it at a larger scale. To pay for the cost of developing the pilots, both institutions have sourced 1 million dollars from their own funds or from international institutions such as the IDB, FMO and NDF.

​An initiative supported by:

La naturaleza puede aportar soluciones sostenibles y autofinanciadas a los problemas de sedimentación y regulación del agua que afectan al sector hidroeléctrico en las cuencas hidrográficas donde se encuentran sus activos.
Proyecto Blue energy La naturaleza puede aportar soluciones sostenibles y autofinanciadas a los problemas de sedimentación y regulación del agua que afectan al sector hidroeléctrico en las cuencas hidrográficas donde se encuentran sus activos.

Water for Colombia Coalition

The Nature Conservancy, with the support of the Water Funds Alliance of Latin America and the Conservation Council of Latin America, launched an extraordinary multi-stakeholder partnership in Colombia in 2018 that aims to eliminate national barriers and foster innovation to cope with systemic solutions to overcome water security challenges. The "Water Coalition for Colombia" is unique due to its strength in scope and multidisciplinary approach. It is led by the Ministry of Environment of Colombia, Andesco and The Nature Conservancy. To date, the Coalition has brought together more than 40 leaders from the most important enterprises, ministries and organizations, national and international organizations and the academy. 

​The Coalition is structured into six thematic and collaborative working groups: (1) Public policy, (2) Corporate standards, (3) Innovative finance, (4) Marketing and communications, (5) Technology and innovation and (6) Science and conservation. Through these working groups, the Coalition strives to implement multiple initiatives to eliminate national barriers, encourage behavioral change and innovation and facilitate the flow of resources for water security projects, including the creation of 8 new funds of Water (in addition to the existing 7) until 2022. Overall, the 15 Water Funds impact the regions where 48% of the national GDP is generated and 43% are Colombian.

TNC and its Latin American partners seek to establish new national water coalitions in the region to scale their positive impact. As part of this effort, a playbook is produced, formalizing the process that is currently carried out in Colombia to capture all the learning and knowledge generated. The playbook consists of a practical guide and several complementary tools to help others to set up and manage a successful multi-stakeholder national coalition.