Asia Pacific

Water Funds in Asia Pacific

Water Funds in Asia Pacific

© Patrick He

2 Water Funds in Operation

5 Water Funds in Development

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Everyone in the world needs and uses water every day. We fill our pots with it for cooking. We use it for bathing. We use it to make new products and create energy. Most importantly, we drink it.

Numerous areas across Asia Pacific are experiencing the full force of these water security challenges, including China, Indonesia, and India. See a full list from 2018 of Water Funds in operation and under development here.

Or access the new map from November 2020 here.


At least one-third of China's lakes and rivers are too polluted for human use, and 73 percent of the watersheds that supply water to fast-growing cities face medium to high pollution levels. Given the rise of cities and the scale of the water quality challenge, we must work together to build a sustainable water future for China.

For the past several years, The Nature Conservancy has been studying the state of water around the world. This year, we decided to dive deeper into China given the country's challenges and importance to the global economy, environment and human development. In our latest report, the China Urban Water Blueprint, we analyzed the state of the 135 surface water sources tapped by China's 30 largest and fastest growing cities, and we found opportunity.

Roughly half of China's water pollution comes from land use and degradation, especially fertilizers, pesticides, and livestock waste carried into lakes, rivers, wetlands, aquifers and coastal waters. By restoring forests, improving agricultural practices and implementing other conservation solutions alongside traditional water infrastructure, China can improve water quality for more than 150 million people and reduce pollution that impacts nature. Additionally, savings in water treatment could offset a significant portion of the catchment conservation costs.

Water funds provide one way for China to implement these types of nature-based solutions at scale.

This governance and financial tool is being used around the world, from Ecuador to Kenya. When designed properly, water funds can improve water quality as well as provide a range of co-benefits to people and nature including improved agricultural outputs, more reliable energy generation by hydropower facilities, and carbon sequestration. Water funds create a win-win situation for all involved by supporting continued economic growth and safeguarding natural resources.

China is already putting wheels in motion to address its current water challenges. Let's be sure that nature is part of the equation used to solve the problem.

Note: you can also download a copy of the China Urban Water Blueprint report in Chinese: Access here.