Read the full story from the University of Minnesota.
In the past two decades, water funds, mechanisms through which downstream users invest in upstream conservation, have spread throughout the world – and for good reason. Keeping water clean and flowing at the source is cheaper and more reliable than fixing problems downstream. Since the first fund was created in Quito, Ecuador, in 2000, however, our climate has changed – leading to an important question: What happens to a water fund in the face of an ever-warming Earth?
It’s this question that a group of scientists from the University of Minnesota, the University of North Texas, the University of Hawai’i, the University of São Paulo, the University of Kassel, Germany, and the Natural Capital Project decided to answer. In 2016, with funding support from a Belmont Forum research grant, the team founded ClimateWIse, a three-year initiative dedicated not only to evaluating the current efficacy of investing in water funds, but also to enhancing sustainable water management through increased understanding of the hydrologic impacts of land use and climate change.