Last year, governments, businesses, and donors channeled $12.3 billion (B) toward nature-based solutions to the global water crisis. Water users and public funders were paying land managers to repair and protect forests, wetlands, and other natural systems as a flexible, costeffective strategy to ensure clean and reliable water supplies, resilience to natural disasters, and sustainable livelihoods. These deals paid for watershed protection and restoration across more than 365 million (M) hectares (ha) worldwide in 2013, an area larger than India.
The value of investment in watershed services1 (IWS) - referring to funding for watershed restoration or protection that delivers benefits to society like aquifer recharge or erosion control - has been growing at an
average rate of 12% per year. The number of operational programs grew by two thirds between 2011 and 2013, expanding in both scale and sophistication as program developers introduced new tools to track returns on watershed investment, coordinated efforts across political boundaries, and delivered additional benefits like sustainable livelihoods and biodiversity protection.