Protecting Water

Securing water for people and nature around the world

Growing cities and increasing demands for food and energy are putting unprecedented pressure on our lakes, rivers and aquifers.

Conventional solutions — such as dams, aqueducts and other types of man-made infrastructure — are too costly and unsustainable on their own.

What water fund programs in different regions share attributes like funding sources and activities?

The Nature Conservancy and its partners are advancing strategies built on natural infrastructure, good governance, innovative financing and sound science for improving water quality and flow regulation. This site provides access to ideas, data and tools for exploring where these strategies can make the most difference around the world.


The Protecting Water Atlas

water conservation map

Where is the greatest potential for pollution reduction through watershed conservation? Where are the areas of overlap among co-benefits of source water protection, like biodiversity conservation, climate change mitigation, and human health and well-being? What water fund programs in different regions share attributes like funding sources and activities? How, when and where is water being used in basins around the world, and what strategies might be appropriate for alleviating water scarcity?

Explore answers to these questions and many more through our interactive mapping site. This site will feature data and analyses from the reports, "Beyond the Source" and "Water Share".

Explore the Site


Beyond the Source

The lands around our water sources serve as vital water infrastructure for cities around the world. These lands collect, store and filter our water, and when managed well, can provide a number of additional benefits to people and nature. The Nature Conservancy’s 2017 report, "Beyond the Source: The environmental, economic and community benefits of source water protection," seeks to illustrate how nature-based solutions, such as reforestation and improved agricultural practices, can be implemented at a scale that will make a visible difference in our collective pursuit to create a sustainable world and improve the lives of billions of people.

water conservation beyond the cource cover

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Water Share

Today, nearly half of all people are impacted by global water scarcity, and increasing demands and climate change will further exacerbate our water challenges. The Nature Conservancy’s 2016 report, "Water Share: Using water markets and impact investment to drive sustainability," explores the potential for water markets and creative financial solutions to serve as part of the solution to global water scarcity and address the water needs of people, industry, agriculture and nature in balance.



water conservation watershare cover

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Water Funds Toolbox

water conservation toolbox

The Nature Conservancy and its partners have developed a series of replicable financial and governance mechanisms that help downstream water users work with upstream communities to protect water supplies at their source through land management and restoration. This series of innovative mechanisms and tools are collectively referred to as water funds. Visit the Water Funds Toolbox to learn more about water fund experiences worldwide, key publications, conservation activities, video testimonials and the recommended step-by-step process for scoping, designing, operating, and monitoring water funds.

Visit the Water Funds Toolbox

About The Nature Conservancy's global water solutions


The number of countries in water-scarce regions that have established water allocation systems, many of which could benefit from impact investment-driven solutions.

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The number of large cities that can reduce sediment and nutrient pollution by a meaningful amount through forest protection, reforestation and improved agricultural practices in their source watersheds.


The number of operational and in-development water funds established by The Nature Conservancy and its partners as of late 2016.

Together we can protect our water.

With your support we can expand our efforts to catalyze water and watershed protection around the world.

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