Water:Shared is an initiative of more than 125 municipal and regional governments across the Andes to protect their upstream water sources by conserving their forests, using three complementary mechanisms:
• Municipal Water Funds: new local institutions to finance watershed management
• Reciprocal Watershed Agreements (RWA): reciprocity-based incentives for private and community conservation
• Protected Area Creation: the locally-managed protection of upstream water factories
The Water:Shared goal is that by 2025 one quarter of Colombian, Peruvian, Ecuadorian and Bolivian forests important for providing safe drinking water, irrigating crops and producing hydropower are protected by their local residents.
Water:Shared is thus a grassroots adaptation to climate change: simultaneous mitigation, adaption and development by and for local communities.
Currently, Watershared comprises
• 4 countries: Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia
• 125 Municipalities
• 2 regional environmental corporations (CORANTIOQUIA, CVC, Colombia)
• 2 departmental (state) governments (Loja, Ecuador and Tarija, Bolivia)
• 1,075,876 ha of newly protected water sanctuaries
By country, achievements include:
• In Ecuador, 615,000 generate $1,445,000 in local funds. Inhabitants receive more abundant, and higher quality drinking water because of the protection of 74,000 ha of upper watershed forests and paramos
• In Peru, 22,000 downstream irrigators annually pay USD 62,000 to 850 upstream landowners for watershed conservation in Piura
• In Bolivia, 226,435 downstream water users, support 3,147 upstream families in exchange for the conservation of 178,448 ha of biodiverse forest, which is returning 500,000 m3 of water to the aquifer and storing 290,000 tons of carbon. Departmental and municipal governments have created 928,700 of new protected areas
• Colombia has 73,086 of new protected areas in Antioquia, and more than 10,000 ha under Reciprocal Watershed Agreements elsewhere in the country.