Buying water security in Guatemala

05 November 2012 | Article

In response to deforestation and watershed erosion around the Tacaná volcano on the Mexican-Guatemalan border, IUCN has launched the Living Water Partnership. The plan sees communities reinvest a portion of revenues from water-dependent economic productivity back into a conservation fund.

Photo by: Rocío Córdoba.

IUCN formally established a legal payment process for ecosystem services in 2011, with rising urban water rates meaning that the community could finance infrastructure and compensate landowners for sustainably managing their forests.

The community created a rational, sustainable plan that demonstrated how, why, where, and for whom incentives are an effective route to water security for downstream water users. IUCN is now expanding this success in the region with training courses and policy initiatives.