What types of interventions are being implemented by Water Funds today?
Daniel Shemie • The Nature Conservancy
What is an intervention?
An intervention is any action that is taken by a Water Fund to help mitigate or address the identified water security issues. For instance, improving agricultural practices to reduce sediment loadings, restoring grasslands to regulate water availability, or implementing a water demand reduction campaign within an urban area are all examples of interventions. These actions are also often referred to as 'conservation activities'.
Why are interventions implemented?
Interventions are typically implemented in pursuit of benefits for people and for nature in the form of ecosystem services. Ecosystem Services are the benefits people accrue from nature. These benefits include essential services such as food, wood and fiber, water purification, biogeochemical processing, carbon sequestration, soil stabilization, recreation, cultural values, and many more. The contribution of natural ecosystems to these benefits has often gone unquantified and unmeasured in the past, but the value of such benefits is gradually becoming more apparent as human populations grow and the demand for natural resources increases. The many benefits of ecosystem services are well-documented and researched, some of which are linked or directly provided via this Toolbox.
There is a wide range of possible interventions
For instance, improving agricultural practices to reduce sediment loadings, restoring grasslands to regulate water availability, or implementing a water demand reduction campaign within an urban area are all examples of interventions. These actions are also often referred to as 'conservation activities'.
Each Water Fund will identify a unique set of interventions
Each Water Fund is different, and the chosen interventions will vary depending on funding, location, and site needs.
Techniques for implementing interventions may vary based on local context
In the context of Water Funds, it is important to note that there are a range of applied techniques for each of the listed conservation activities. For instance, the 'best' agricultural best management practice for a targeted watershed in the State of Illinois, USA may vary from those being promoted in watersheds in the Department of Cundinamarca, Colombia. Furthermore, given the complexity of the ecosystems that funds are seeking to protect or restore, it is common for a series of strategically selected conservation activities to be implemented (e.g. riparian restoration alongside agricultural BMPs).
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Where is the greatest potential for pollution reduction through source water protection? Where are the areas of overlap among co-benefits of source water protection, like biodiversity conservation, climate change mitigation, and human health and well-being? What water fund programs in different regions share attributes like funding sources and activities? How, when and where is water being used in basins around the world, and what strategies might be appropriate for alleviating water scarcity?
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