Pathways to investing in water quality
Many cities are implementing innovative financing mechanisms. Examples include Philadelphia’s stormwater billing, DC Water and the nation’s first Environmental Impact Bond (EIB), and other cities who have implemented The Nature Conservancy’s water funds.
funds are unique in that they enable cities and investors to move away
from traditional funding and consider the co-benefits of looking at a
wider scale: the basin. We all know water for our cities is supplied
from sources further away, and it is critical that we bridge the gaps
between upstream and downstream users to create funding mechanisms that
consider the quality of the water supply at its source.
funds work as an institutional platform developed by cities and
conservation practitioners that can bridge governance issues as well as
science, jurisdictional, financial and implementation gaps. Resources,
both funding and capacity, are then dedicated to taking action towards a
common goal to improve water quality.
Realizing basin-scale outcomes
depend upon their basin, which supplies them with water, food and
energy. The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has found that four out of five
cities can reduce sediment and nutrient pollution by a meaningful amount
through investing in and implementing forest protection, pastureland
reforestation and improved agricultural practices in the basin.
taking part in basin management through water funds, cities can
simultaneously secure resources; reduce flood risks; and enhance
economic health. Water-wise communities also enable the implementation
of resilience frameworks by connecting people to integrated solutions,
highlighting the value of co-benefits, and unlocking flexible and
fit-for-purpose investments. Likewise, through water-wise communities we
can bring people together from across the basin to realize the role
they can play in managing water supply across scales.