This article is written by Guido Sabatini.
Payments for Watershed Services
When joining CliMates 4 months ago, I had been offered the chance to participate in the Agriwaterpedia contest, being part of CliMates’ research project on water and climate change. Agriwaterpedia.info is a wiki which focuses on agricultural water management and food security in developing countries with a particular emphasis on climate change. In this context, they organized a competition for the best article among a range of offered subjects, in order to share knowledge and engage those who work in agricultural water management to enhance their capacity to implement innovative solutions.
We thought it was interesting to participate because the suggested themes are deeply linked with CliMates’ activities and our commitment in gathering this generation around the issues of climate change. To enter the competition, we decide to write an article about Payment for Watershed Services. Although there is no golden rule in evaluating PWS benefits for stakeholders, the article provides with a brief overview of the different PWS schemes and highlights the connections between water, food security and climate change.
The role of watershed services such as water purification and regulation, erosion control, and river banks stabilization is going to be decisive as water quality and quantity become globally critical issues, and in some places will worsen due to climate change (USDA, 2009). In this regard, we are convinced that the voluntary, transaction-based instrument known as Payments for Watershed Services has potential to enhance resilience to risks such as climate change, water stress and food scarcity.
PWS aim at achieving economic optimum in watershed management by reducing external costs (e.g. the ones associated with having many suppliers and intermediary organizations) for the beneficiary/buyer, while promoting new, more sustainable practices among upstream landowners or land managers. This system has already proven its efficiency in Colombia (Cuencas Andinas Project) where reducing eutrophication caused by nutrient loads was a major issue, and in Kenya where, for over the last two and half decades, the population has doubled, boosting demand for power and water supply. These examples can give an idea of the range of PWS programs, which deeply vary in nature, size, context, location, final objectives and methods. Lire la suite « Payments for Watershed Services »