Phase 2

Step 2.01 , Formalize WF Board & Develop Charter


Water Fund Boards are established as the decision-making authority that will take responsibility for the Water Fund's goals. Specifically, these Boards and the corresponding governance document (e.g. Charter) are established to:

1. Establish the principles under which Water Funds will operate.

2. Establish the Governance mechanisms by which Water Funds will operate, including identifying: (a.) key decision-making processes and (b.) the roles and responsibilities of the individuals and groups.

3. Assure Partners and Investors – A Charter or similar document will assure Water Fund participants and other stakeholders that Water Funds will be managed and operated in an efficient, effective and appropriate manner so as to increase the potential to improve water security and avoid unreasonable risks.

Key Ideas

A Water Fund Board is an advisory committee that is usually comprised of strategically selected stakeholders and/or experts who provide guidance on key issues such as proposed strategies, resource allocation, the definition of goals, and/or decisions related to budgetary disbursements. 

  • A Steering Committee or other advisory group may fill the role of the Board during the Design Phase

    Steering Committees that are formalized through a Memorandum of Understanding or other legal document may provide the necessary leadership in absence of a Board. For our purposes, Water Fund Boards may be referred to as a Steering Committee and/or advisers, depending on the term preferred in the local context.
  • The Board's composition should be duly formalized through a Memorandum of Understanding or similar instrument (e.g. Charter)

    This document should ideally be prepared and signed at the beginning of the process. Potential Board members should also be engaged as early as possible in the planning process
  • Limit committee size to 6-9 members

    The ideal size of a board or committee is typically between 6 to 9 members. Committees that are larger than this size tend to develop factions and create challenges for establishing efficient decision-making processes.

What is the role of this committee?

  • Boards / Steering Committees may fulfill different roles

    Depending on the needs of the Water Fund, a Board / Steering Committee may be established with a range of purposes. Watch the provided videos below to learn more about the roles and responsibilities Steering Committees have taken in a few existing Water Funds. 

  • What are the main functions of the Board or Steering Committee?

    While not limited to the following, the main functions of a Board or Steering Committee are typically to:

    ● Provide overall direction and guidance to the planning process.

    ● Prepare a work plan that includes a detailed timeline.

    ● Conduct meetings to coordinate strategies and define next steps.

    ● Analyze alternatives for the preparation of initial studies.

    ● Analyze and facilitate the incorporation of new members to the Board.

    ● Supervise the work of consultants.

    ● Prepare a list of potential risks and classify them. Determine if risks can be managed or mitigated.

  • Embrace diversity on boards and committees

    Diversity on all Boards and Committees is critical to their overall effectiveness. Relevant diversity means inclusion of the identities, skills and spheres of influence that are strategically relevant to the context and the committee's purpose. 

  • What is the typical role of the Steering Committee?

    Froylan Hernandez-Ruiz • The Nature Conservancy

  • What role has the Steering Committee played in the Rio Grande Water Fund?

    Laura McCarthy • The Nature Conservancy

  • What role has the Steering Committee played in the Upper Tana-Nairobi Water Fund?

    Fred Kihara • The Nature Conservancy

  • What is the key to a productive partnership?

    Maria Lemke • The Nature Conservancy

    Learn more


The Board's or Steering Committee’s composition should be duly formalized through a Memorandum of Understanding or similar instrument (e.g. Charter), ideally prepared and signed at the beginning of the process and potential members engaged as early as possible. Examples from existing Water Funds are provided below.

North America:

Latin America: