Mainstreaming investments in watershed services to enhance water security: Barriers and opportunities
Environmental Science & Policy
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Vogl, A., Goldstein, J., Daily, G., Vira, B., Bremer, L., McDonald, R., Shemie, D., et al. (2017). Mainstreaming investments in watershed services to enhance water security: Barriers and opportunities. Environmental Science & Policy, 75 19-27. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envsci.2017.05.007
Watersheds are under increasing pressure worldwide, as expanding human activities coupled with global climate change threaten the water security of people downstream. In response, some communities have initiated investments in watershed services (IWS), a general term for policy-finance mechanisms that mitigate diverse watershed threats and promote ecosystem-based adaptation. Here, we explore the potential for increasing the uptake and impact of IWS, evaluating what limits its application and how institutional, financial, and informational barriers can be overcome. Our analysis complements the growing literature on individual programs by identifying levers at regional and global scales. We conclude that mainstreaming IWS as a cost-effective strategy alongside engineered approaches will require advances that (i) lower institutional barriers to implementation and participation in IWS; (ii) introduce structural market changes and standards of practice that account for the value of watersheds’ natural capital; (iii) develop practical tools and metrics of IWS costs and benefits; and (iv) share success stories of replicable institutional and financial models applied in varied contexts.
investments in watershed services, water infrastructure, natural infrastructure, ecosystem-based adaptation, enabling conditions, return-on-investment
Adrian Vogl and Leah Bremer’s contributions were supported by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the New Venture Fund. Josh Goldstein, Rob McDonald, and Beth Tellman’s work was supported in part by an anonymous private foundation and by the Water Security Working Group through SNAPP: Science for Nature and People Partnership − a collaboration of The Nature Conservancy, the Wildlife Conservation Society and the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS). Bhaskar Vira’s research was supported in part by the Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) programme on the project “The Political Economy of Water Security, Ecosystem Services and Livelihoods in the Western Himalayas” (grant number NE/L001365/1). The ESPA programme is funded by the Department for International Development (DFID), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). Jan Cassin received support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envsci.2017.05.007
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/266601
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
Licence URL: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/