SNAP: Urban Water Security - Prioritizing Investments in Nature

Principal Investigator(s): 

Josh Goldstein and Beth Tellman

Uruapan National Park, MexicoWater stress is an increasing global problem with as much as 30% of the world's population facing water shortages on a regular basis. Water stress may be exacerbated by climate change and the expanding populations in urban centers. Water scarcity can directly impact human wellbeing by decreasing access to drinking water, sanitation and food security and constraining economic growth in developing countries. Traditionally, water stress has been addressed by large and costly infrastructure projects such as dams, wells and water treatment facilities. A new innovative mechanism called water funds have been created to mobilize and scale up investment in natural capital to meet cities' growing water security needs.

This SNAP Working Group will develop and demonstrate a decision-oriented rapid assessment methodology to identify the most promising cities for water funds based on science. The group will also analyze current activity with water funds to draw out key lessons learned to inform the design and implementation of future water funds in the most promising cities. They will focus on Latin America, especially Brazil and Mexico, where water funds have been deployed on an ad-hoc basis over the past two decades, with the goal of using the results of the project to scale up investment in water funds over the next 5-10 years.

This project is supported by the Science for Nature and People (SNAP) initiative, generously funded through founding grants by Shirley and Harry Hagey, Steve and Roberta Denning, Seth Neiman, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Ward W. and Priscilla B. Woods, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.