Quilombola community children from the Escola (school) Municipalizada Rio das Pedras work and play. Photo credit: © Devan King/The Nature Conservancy
PLACE_HOLDER PLACE_HOLDER © PLACE_HOLDER

Stories in Brazil

Brazil

Water Conservation. Securing water for people and nature.

As Brazil's population grows and becomes increasingly urbanized, more water is consumed every day.

We now face the great challenge of securing water for environmental sustainability, social wellbeing and economic growth. Water is the essence of life on earth. We must use ingenuity and innovation to support water resources- so that they can support us.

In Brazil, we work to ensure water security by:

  • Protecting priority areas to maintain freshwater sources
    • We are protecting critical watersheds all around Brazil with our innovative water funds program.
  • Transforming the management of water and areas that naturally provide water
    • Our Green-Blue Water Coalition brings together support from the public and private sector to implement nature-based solutions that promote water security in at-risk cities.
    • We are normalizing policies and incentives (such as tariffs, rates and allocations) that pay for water funds across Brazil.
  • Inspiring adequate use and management of water at its source
    • We promote Corporate Water Stewardship so that the business community can compensate for its water use through investments in high-impact restoration and conservation actions (in line with water funds). This equates to businesses putting back into nature the same volume of water utilized in their productive processes.
Carlos Marques, a retired farmer was the first property owner to enroll in Guandu Waterfund Project. Municipalities near Brazil's Atlantic Forest collect fees from water users and make direct payments to farmers and ranchers who protect and restore rivers
PLACE_HOLDER Above, Carlos Marques, a retired farmer, was the first property owner to enroll in Guandu Waterfund Project. Municipalities near Brazil's Atlantic Forest collect fees from water users and make direct payments to farmers and ranchers like Carlos who protect and restore riverside forests on their land through water producer initiatives. © PLACE_HOLDER
  • Working with upstream landowners to improve the health of the lands around water sources is a corner stone of our water funds initiative.
    • Water funds, a concept developed and founded by TNC in Ecuador in 2000, are innovative financial mechanisms that harness investments from the private and public sectors to help protect and restore forests in upstream watersheds. These ecosystems, in turn, capture and clean the water we need to supply our cities.
    • Conserving water at its source improves water quality, restores reliable water flows and has numerous other benefits both upstream and downstream.
  • We have created six water funds in Brazil: Belo Horizonte, Curitiba, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia and Espirito Santo, and dozens more across Latin America.

The Guandu Watershed is a vital source of drinking water for 8 million people in the city of Rio de Janeiro, but deforestation by farmers and ranchers have reduced water quality and quantity. Now, through the Guandu Water Producer Project launched in November 2008, fees collected from water users pay more than 120 farmers and ranchers to leave standing riparian forests on their lands. The project helps preserve and restore Brazil’s Atlantic Forest for birds and primates found nowhere else in the world, and secures water for millions.  

To learn more about how water funds work, enjoy:

  • Our video about how water funds are ensuring water security in Rio de Janeiro
  • Our video, featuring Carlos Marques, explaining how we leverage partnerships with governments, dozens of companies and communities to ensure water security for millions
  • An infographic that lays out every step of a successful water fund  

"The water was disappearing, then once we started protecting and restoring the forest it came back. No one cuts the forest anymore. The forest grows, and so does the water availability. The water that I use is the water that I preserve up there in the headwaters." Argeu Bernardes, Landowner, Camboriu, Brazil


 Claudia Picone, a staff member with The Nature Conservancy, plants seedlings in the Extrema municipality of Brazil. The Nature ConservancyÕs Atlantic Forest program began a Water Producer Program to compensate landowners who protect and reforest
PLACE_HOLDER Above, Claudia Picone, a staff member with The Nature Conservancy, plants seedlings in the Extrema municipality of Brazil. The Nature Conservancy's Atlantic Forest program compensates landowners who protect and reforest riparian areas on their lands. Trees planted here count towards the Conservancy's goal of planting one billion trees in Brazil's Atlantic Forest, of which just 12% remains. © PLACE_HOLDER

Started by TNC, The Green-Blue Water Coalition initiates collective action through water funds between governments, companies and communities to ensure water security in Brazil.

  • Created in 2016, the Green-Blue Water Coalition is already working in half of the 12 Brazilian metropolitan regions at risk for water shortage.
    • We are leveraging nearly $2.4 billion dollars for green infrastructure-based solutions (water funds)
    • Working with 46,000 rural-property families that provide environmental services in the headwaters of the 12 metropolitan areas
    • Increasing water security for more than 42 million Brazilians

To learn more about the Green-Blue Water Coalition:


 Waterfalls at Iguaçu National Park, Brazil. The park shares with Iguazu National Park in Argentina one of the world's largest and most impressive waterfalls, over 2,700 metres wide.
PLACE_HOLDER Above, Waterfalls in Iguaçu National Park, Brazil. © PLACE_HOLDER

Inspiring adequate use and management of water at its source

One of the greatest strengths of the Green-Blue Water Coalition is not only mobilizing landowners and governments in the quest for water security, but also, creating an initiative in which competing companies come together for an critical cause.

  • We promote Corporate Water Stewardship so that the business community can compensate for its water use through investments in high-impact restoration and conservation actions (in line with water funds).
    • This equates to businesses putting back into nature the same volume of water utilized in their productive processes.

As Mark Tercek, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Nature Conservancy, explains, “There is no initiative that is comparable to Water Funds for moving quickly, scaling up and bringing people together.

To learn more about how we are inspiring collective action to ensure water security across Brazil: