Why should we implement pilot projects?
Establish proof of concept
Some stakeholders may be skeptical of the solutions a Water Fund is proposing (i.e. the range of interventions proposed). Starting small and demonstrating that those interventions can produce tangible results at a small-scale may help to build the case that they can play an important role at a large-scale. Rigorous monitoring of pilot projects is required to build a credible and defensible case.
Groundtruth implementation models
A Water Fund will undertake a series of design studies to help optimize which set of interventions the Water Fund will implement and where those should be implemented. These design studies are underpinned by a series of assumptions. The implementation of pilot projects can be an effective tool for groundtruthing that those assumptions are valid and that the proposed strategy for operating the Water Fund will succeed. For instance, a pilot project may inform a Water Fund manager that the established implementation schedule for the first year of operation may actually need to be extended due to local factors that hadn't been fully accounted for before.
Build implementation capacity
Implementing pilot projects may help to build staff or local contractor capacity in the types of interventions that the Water Fund will be implementing at scale.
- What are the expected outcomes of pilot projects, both in hydrologic terms and in terms of replicable models?
- Have sufficient resources and staff been allocated to implement and monitor pilot projects?
- Has access been gained to all project and monitoring sites?
- Is all monitoring equipment ready for deployment?
Note: The process for implementing pilot projects will vary depending on local factors and the context within which the Water Fund is being developed.
How might I engage stakeholders who are skeptical of the proposed Water Fund?
Laura McCarthy from TNC reflects on how early pilot results helped convince skeptical stakeholders