Financial sustainability through establishment of Water Funds for the protection of water sources and enhancement of watershed governance.

Establish innovative mechanisms-water funds-with public and private users, to protect water sources and strengthen governance systems.

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I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.

  • Yes, I'm eligible

Preferred language

  • English

Organization name

AquaNature LLC

Year founded


Initiative stage

  • Established (the solution has passed the previous stages and demonstrated success)

Annual budget in 2017 (USD)

  • $50k - $100k

Number of beneficiaries impacted so far

  • More than 100,000

Organization type

  • Social enterprise

Secondary Focus Area

  • Water
  • Rural development

Headquarters location: Country

  • United States of America

Headquarters location: City

Main office: Newhall, California Branch office: Quito, Ecuador

Location(s) of impact

Ecuador: Quito, Tungurahua, Cuenca Perú: Piura y Arequipa El Salvador: San Salvador Bolivia: Santa Cruz República Dominicana: Sto. Domingo


Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?

The close relationship between the protection of ecosystems and the availability and quality of water is not always obvious. Water sources are threatened by contamination, excessive demand, insufficient funding for its management, and the effects of climate change. These factors put water resources under great pressure and leave efficient management and equitable distribution a growing challenge both locally and regionally. Therefore supporting the protection and conservation of these ecosystems should be a priority.

Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?

Despite numerous efforts to protect watersheds or set up actions that promote integrated water resource management, there are few programs that have really made a direct link between the natural areas where water sources are located and the people that depend on them. Strengthening this relationship represents a "win-win" situation, as it protects water resources and biodiversity, and improves the quality of life of local residents. We have supported local initiatives to better manage water resources, improve the maintenance of ecosystems, and strengthen governance structures through Water Funds, focusing on preserving water sources and their associated ecosystems as the basis for sustainable development. Water funds have been proved to be a model for promoting the importance of the relationship between natural areas and watershed conservation. Through participatory approaches and tailor made action plans we support the feasibility, foundation, and implementation of water funds.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work

Water funds are established in more than 25 countries in Latinamerica and the model is now replicated in Asia and Africa. More than $100M invested for conservation and protection activities, over 1.6 million hectares destined for protection and more than 50 million people have benefitted in access to clean water that contributes to better health, nutrition, and sustainable economic development. In addition, in many countries have used water funds as a mechanism to strengthen governance and institutional gaps, ensuring greater participation of all water users and actors in a basin.

Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?

A water fund is a financial model that uses an endowment to ensure resources from public and private actors are set aside in one place and administered only for protection and conservation actions. Through formal commitments of various public and private users, the fund is nourished by permanent contributions. A financial plan is worked with local actors to ensure the prioritized protection actions are financed and that a sufficient capital is being set aside for future investments of the fund. The key is to work with public entities and establish formal destinations to the fund, for example through water tariffs. The same occurs with the private sector, where a business plan is developed to designate either a sales percentage or an annual corporate contribution to the fund.

Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?

Watershed protection projects usually have limited timeframe and depend on financial resources from international organizations or public entities. Creating a water fund that contemplates private users and public sources ensures sustainability in the long term and strengthens the coresponsiblity for water availability and quality. Being part of a water fund is being part of a long-term solution and also enhances good governance that will support integrated management of water sources.

Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.

Our team had supported these efforts individually, as part of many projects. However, we realized that if we merged our technical expertise we would have greater impact. During the development of a water fund course, we realized that promoting these mechanisms and sharing experiences from the region was the best way to upscale and replicate the model. Participants were extremely happy and now count with tools that will help them create their water funds in their basins. We have now designed intervention processes and tools that can be adapted to each reality and we work with local promoters to carry these initiatives that will have long-term impact.

Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?

  • Social media


Join the conversation:


Idea is well thought and executed. But how do you make sure that it is sustained? The project needs lot of fund and I feel that financial sustainability will always be an issue. Some kind of token amount to be charged from the farmers for usage of water or some other idea to be implemented so the endowment increases for further implementation.

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