Soluciones Basadas en la Naturaleza para la gestión del agua en España

A new report about nature-based water management solutions in Spain shows that natural infrastructure can a cost-effective the basis for water security. It consolidates recommendations and provides a sound basis for moving forward with scaling up nature-based solutions for water security in Spain. Ensuring water security is a complex, although not intractable challenge, that is too large for any single institution to take on: it calls for collective action with the participation of public and private sector, as well as local, national, multilateral and civil society organizations and individuals.

2019.05.30 soluciones naturaleza.200Efforts need to be deployed at several levels to accelerate the pace of investments in NBS:

  1. Change mindsets: in a country where hard infrastructure has been the solution of choice for coping with water scarcity for many years, raising awareness to the potential of NBS to address water security is key, based on comprehensive documentation of successful cases as well as failures;
  2. Build knowledge: the evidence-base for such solutions is partial, fragmented and not easily accessible by decision-makers. In Spain as in many other countries, pilot projects have blossomed with no consistent framework to track their effectiveness and most importantly, their cost-effectiveness. Greater investment in research is needed, to generate practical findings that can feed into training programs for the designers and managers of tomorrow’s infrastructure, including green and grey infrastructure.
  3. Delink investments in water from political processes and promote collaboration: governance regimes for water management are fragmented and political considerations often get in the way. This has severely curtailed all types of investments in the water sector in Spain, particularly since the financial crisis and a sharp rise in municipalities’ levels of debt. Building collaborative multi-stakeholder platforms will be key to deliver well-targeted investments in nature-based solutions that generate multiple benefits for a wide range of actors and could be paid for by multiple beneficiaries with payments for ecosystem services.
  4. Diversify funding away from a heavy reliance on public funding. Most investments in NBS have so far been funded by public grants and subsidies, including from domestic and European sources. To scale up, and in line with the point above, it will be necessary to tap into different sources of funding (including from water users, cities, farmers or corporates) and leverage sustainable funding sources to mobilize repayable financing, including from development banks, private financiers or insurance mechanisms.
  5. Innovate. Achieving these objectives calls for innovation, including in areas of governance and financing. One potential way to stimulate and showcase innovation in those areas is through an innovation prize, to coalesce efforts and increase the visibility of local experiences that seek to overcome policy and governance barriers to invest in nature for the greater good.

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