The Nature Conservancy, FEMSA Foundation, Inter-American Development Bank, and Global Environment Facility have announced the launch of a $27 million initiative to capitalize the protection of threatened water resources across Latin America and the Caribbean.
The public-private partnership, which could benefit as many as fifty million people, will work to protect seven million acres of watershed across the region from pollution and development. In addition to guarding against disease and starvation by supplying fresh drinking water to communities, the initiative will benefit local businesses such as sugarcane growers and manufacturers who cannot produce their goods without an adequate supply of clean water.
Because healthy watersheds can reduce costs for large commercial water-users by minimizing the need for water treatment, the initiative is particularly attractive to hydroelectric companies, water utilities, and other industries. The partners hope to eventually expand the fund and replicate the watershed conservation model in other parts of the world.
"Water funds offer a triple-win for businesses, communities, and nature," said Nature Conservancy president and CEO Mark Tercek. "By investing in green infrastructure, such as forests and rivers, companies and water utilities can save money on the construction of gray infrastructure, such as water filtration systems. Communities benefit through the development of sustainable incomes and clean water supplies, and natural systems are protected to provide habitat for wildlife and deliver clean water."