For people and nature, water is life.
But the planet’s freshwater systems are crashing—resulting in a sharp decline in water security and biodiversity. In nearly every corner of the planet we’ve either over-extracted, over-fished and overengineered our freshwater ecosystems. And the consequences are stacking up.
The good news is we know how to reverse this trajectory. Investing in nature offers a clear pathway to protecting and restoring the freshwater systems on which nature and people depend.
Around the world, the Nature Conservancy is developing the tools and partnerships needed to make a difference.
Our Commitment to Fresh Water
TNC is doubling down on its commitment to freshwater conservation around the world. By 2030, TNC aims to conserve 1 million kilometers of rivers and 30 million hectares of lakes and wetlands to benefit tens of millions of people. Learn more about our 2030 Goals.
The Urgency to Protect Fresh Water
The world has lost nearly one-third of its freshwater ecosystems since 1970.
Monitored freshwater populations have declined by an average of 83% since 1970.
TNC's goal is to conserve 1 million kilometers of the world's rivers by 2030.
TNC also aims to conserve 30 million hectares of lakes and wetlands by 2030.
Explore our Tools and Resources
WaterProof is a tool that provides a rapid and indicative NbS investment portfolio and associated ROI. The tool is intended to engage stakeholders interested in exploring solutions to local water challenges and prioritization of locations for possible NbS water security programs.
The How-To Guide for Watershed Investment Programs is designed for those seeking to improve their water security via Nature-based Solutions (NbS) in a programmatic manner. The guide assists readers in understanding how to design, implement and finance NbS investment programs that drive long-term water security outcomes.
A new TNC report shows the economic and biological benefit that restoration can have on water security in São Paulo, Brazil.
The Nature for Water Facility is a partnership managed by The Nature Conservancy and Pegasys. The Facility is purpose-built to provide the gold standard in technical assistance for Nature-based Solutions, helping local champions build out watershed investment programs.
Meet the communities that are stewarding global freshwater ecosystems for nature and people
We Must Save Fresh Water to Save Ourselves
At the climate COP27 in Egypt, biodiversity COP15 in Montreal and other opportunities, The Nature Conservancy joins others in pressing for urgent stewardship of our world's precious freshwater.
Protecting the Amazon Basin for Nature and People
The Nature Conservancy envisions a healthy, connected and resilient Amazon Basin where biodiversity and freshwater ecosystems, and their contribution to people, are maintained, improved and protected.
The Journey of Africa’s Water Funds
Water Funds are protecting watersheds all across Africa. TNC Africa Water Funds Director Fred Kihara explains what it takes to get from concept to reality.
United for Europe’s Rivers: Free-flowing rivers in the Balkans need to be protected
With Western Europe’s waterways clogged by thousands of dams, Balkan countries are rallying to protect the continent’s last free-flowing rivers—before it’s too late.
Making a Difference with the Qiandao Lake Water Fund
Qiandao Lake supplies drinking water to approximately 10 million people across Zhejiang Province, but the quality of this critical water supply is at risk from land degradation, excessive fertilizer and pesticide use, and livestock waste.
New study about the importance of spring restoration to water security.
"Invisible Reservoir" shows restoration’s economic and biological impact on water in São Paulo, Brazil.
Restoring Chennai’s Lake Sembakkam for water security and improved health
Restoring Chennai’s Lake Sembakkam for multiple benefits for the local communities living around its shores, its biodiversity and the environment.