Caranavi, the first municipality of the Tropical Andes to join the conservation of water sources and Biodiversity!

Caranavi, the first municipality of the Tropical Andes to join the conservation of water sources and Biodiversity!

The first step towards conserving important forests for water provision in a Biodiversity Hotspot area of ​​the Department of La Paz, has materialized with the creation of a local water conservation fund. This was as result of an institutional alliance between the Municipal Government of Caranavi and the water cooperative COSAPAC. Both local stakeholders put in action their commitment to conservation by designating economic resources to be used in sustainable development projects with 22 families who will adopt more efficient coffee farming practices.  In turn they will voluntarily conserve 105 hectares of forest that are currently at high risk of deforestation. How do we ensure that municipal governments together with the society implement a mechanism to avoid land-use change? This is possible when downstream population (water users) recognize the importance of maintaining their water sources and, in turn, they encourage their authorities to achieve this through a reciprocal agreement with upstream landowners. In this way, the issue of water, an essential element for nature and life, gets rooted in a local political environment. Reciprocal Watershed Agreements (RWA) are a key tool for the management of natural resources that local governments adapt and implement, thus, incorporating biodiversity and ecosystem services conservation within public policy. For the Mayor of the Municipality of Caranavi, Lidio Roberto Mamani Strauss, the local fund is the fertile land where the seed that will promote productive development and conservation will be planted. He also considers it important to promote the management of the fund so that other local institutions can support this RWA initiative. How do we accomplish that upstream families conserve their forest and avoid...
Beyond the Source: The environmental, economic and community benefits of source water protection

Beyond the Source: The environmental, economic and community benefits of source water protection

Natura Foundation Bolivia contributed to the report Beyond the Source: The environmental, economic and community benefits of source water protection, led by The Nature Conservancy. Beyond the Source seeks to illustrate the value of nature to cities looking to secure water supplies while adding a number of benefits that address global challenges we face. By restoring forests and working with farmers and ranchers to improve their land management practices, we can improve water quality and reduce water treatment costs. The report highligths the importance of healthy source watersheds are vital natural infrastructure for nearly all cities around the world. They collect, store and filter water and provide benefits for biodiversity conservation, climate change adaptation and mitigation, food security, and human health and well-being. Protecting and restoring the natural infrastructure of source watersheds can directly enhance water quality and quantity. The value of source water protection goes well beyond water security. The report offers for the first time, an in-depth exploration of the co-benefits—including climate change mitigation and adaptation, biodiversity, and human health and well-being—that can result from source water protection investment. Capturing the value of source watersheds through water funds  The water fund, an institutional platform, can help resolve governance issues by bridging science, jurisdictional, financial and implementation gaps. For more than 15 years, water funds have helped communities improve water quality by bringing water users together to collectively invest in upstream habitat protection and land management, and mobilize innovative sources of funding.  As a permanent governance, investment and source water protection implementation mechanism, water funds provide the framework for collective action, connecting land stewards in rural areas and water users...