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Executive Summary: State of Watershed Payments

An Emerging Marketplace

By Tracy Stanton, Marta Echavarria, Katherine Hamilton, Caroline Ott - Ecosystem Marketplace, Ecosystem Marketplace, Ecosystem Marketplace, Ecosystem Marketplace
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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY of our first report on payments for watershed services:

How can we as a society address the many problems that plague the waterfront? How do we get people to be more mindful about their water use? How do we regulate pollution flowing into our waterways? How do we put a stop to the growing number of dead zones around the world? And how do we ensure that humans – and the plants and animals on which we depend – have access to the quantity and quality of water that they need to survive?

This question – at its core – is what this publication is about. It is about one of the tools that can (and will increasingly) be used to resolve our water problems: Payments for Watershed Services (PWS). While PWS may not be the only solution, this document shows that in some parts of the world it can be part of the solution. In some cases it can help change the way we value water, and it can generate the resources needed to remediate and protect our watersheds.

Here, for the first time ever, we have an attempt at cataloguing the use of PWS across the world connected to the amount of money being transacted. The emphasis here is on the word attempt. By its own admission this catalogue is not exhaustive. By means of online searches, interviews, questionnaires, emails, and phone calls, the Ecosystem Marketplace (EM) team has tried to get a sense of how this tool is being utilized: what is out there, who is doing what, and how much money is changing hands. But some pieces of the story were likely missed due to lack of or inconsistently reported information or oversight. Like all pioneering works, or better yet, like a first draft, this report (this story) is a work in progress.