Many communities around the world are running out of water.
When demand outpaces supply, communities often turn to difficult and costly solutions, such as building reservoirs, importing water or constructing desalination plants.
But this week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, I’m pushing global leaders to consider a different solution—one that could significantly accelerate progress on addressing the root cause of water scarcity around the world.
Let’s tap economic forces—the power of the market—to be smarter about how we use the water we already have.
By viewing water as a tradable asset, we can create water markets that encourage water users—such as cities, farms and companies—to be more efficient. The water saved can then be allocated for other uses.
With half the world’s cities and three-fourths of irrigated farms experiencing regular water shortages, it’s critical that we capitalize on the value created from conserving water.
My organization, The Nature Conservancy, is harnessing private capital through impact investing to do just that.
Impact investing—which allows investors to align their portfolios with their values by investing in initiatives that generate financial, societal and environmental outcomes—is emerging as a fresh source of funding for conservation projects.
With our impact investing unit, NatureVest, our global water experts and Australia team have created the world’s first water sharing investment program in Australia’s Murray-Darling Basin. Through that program, we’re working to raise $69 million of investor capital to help balance water use in the basin so there’s enough for farmers, communities and nature.