Financing Nature for Water Security

A How-to Guide to Develop Watershed Investment Programs

The Guidance

The How-to Guide for Watershed Investment Programs assists readers in understanding how to design, implement, and finance nature-based solutions investment programs that drive long-term biodiversity, climate and water security outcomes.

Watershed Investment Programs (WIPs) are initiatives designed to deliver ecosystem services by investing in the protection and restoration of nature via a defined portfolio of NbS interventions within a specified service area.

The Guide moves the reader through each phase of the Watershed Investment Program development lifecycle with the aim of understanding:

  • The purpose of each phase
  • Questions that should be addressed by phase conclusion
  • Activities and outputs that can help answer these questions, and
  • Key transition milestones that are foundational before moving onto the next phase in the program development lifecycle

Overview of the WIP Program Development Lifecycle including objectives, key questions, and common activities and outputs

Within each phase the Guide groups similar bodies of work into five workstreams - stakeholder engagement, science, financing, governance and implementation. These workstreams are followed by a section on how to understand and plan for long-term impact and quantify outcomes at each stage.

The How-to Guide is designed to meet the needs of practitioners and investors across a variety of sectors who may wish to improve biodiversity, climate and water security outcomes by employing nature-based solutions. The Guide has been written with this diversity in mind.

Diving Deeper into the Method

Deep Dives offer detailed guidance on key subject matter areas for WIP preparation. They function as additional reference sources to complement this Guide.

The Deep Dives offered include:

  • Co-benefits and Trade-offs: explores the types of co-benefits and trade-offs and how to identify, quantify and financially value these potential outcomes of WIPs
  • Economic & Financial Analysis: provides detailed, comprehensive methodology required to articulate the economic and/or financial benefits of your watershed investment program
  • Green-Gray Infrastructure: Provides readers with insights into how each type of solution works to address water security challenges within a water management system, and explore pathways for integrated planning
  • Governance: Reviews common WIP governance models, and aspects to consider when designing the governance, operational and legal structure of your program
  • Monitoring & Evaluation Program Design: introduces some key principles in monitoring & evaluation program design, and directs readers to resources that provide detailed guidance on metric selection, monitoring design and data collections and analysis
  • NbS Options Factsheets: outlines the typical properties of each NbS option including the water security challenges addressed, additional co-benefits, typical cost profiles, and risks
  • Policy & Regulatory Mapping: outlines the legal and regulatory policy mapping process and suggests initial questions readers should be answering and resources that can relied upon in such evaluations
  • Stakeholder Mapping: provides a process to map and engage stakeholders, and analyze their mandates and priorities to determine which are most essential to advancing the WIP
  • Sustainable Funding: helps WIP sponsors understand the steps for creating a sustainable funding strategy that covers the full costs of meeting the program's technical objectives