Alliance for Global Water Adaptation / Forest Trends / Inter-American Development Bank / RTI International

Green Landscapes for Water Security: Measuring and Modeling Hydrologic Benefits

Thursday 30 August | 09.00-10.30 | Room: M3
Watershed management programs intend to preserve or restore natural flows in rivers, protect recharge to aquifers and reduce soil loss from forests and agricultural areas. Given the size of watersheds, the scale of interventions, the spatiotemporal variability of precipitation and terrestrial conditions and our limited understanding of the hydrological dynamics of various ecosystems, it is difficult to directly measure changes over time in surface flows, recharge, and sediment loads. It is even more difficult to reliably attribute such changes to specific actions taken to modify or preserve the physical environment (reforestation, terracing, riparian buffers, zoning, limiting development,  etc.). Nonetheless, it is important to attempt such analyses to establish the business case for conservation investments and payment-for-ecosystem-services programs. This session will provide an overview of the methods available for assessing the hydrologic benefits of conservation interventions and will review some of the most recent and innovative attempts to measure, monitor, and model such benefits for conservation programs in Latin America and North America.  This is Part 1 of a 2-part Event.


09:00 Welcome and introduction
George Van Houtven, RTI International

09:05 “Known and unknown benefits flowing from source water protection: Predicting impacts of land management on baseflow, recharge, and flood mitigation”
Adrian L. Vogl, The Natural Capital Project

09:20 “ClimateWIse: Assessing program needs and potential impact of Investments in Watershed Services projects in the montane tropics of South America”
Kate Brauman, ClimateWIse (a Belmont Forum research project)

09:35 “The challenge of quantifying hydrological benefits of nature based solutions, view from a practitioner”
Bert De Bievre, Fondo para la Protección del Agua (FONAG) (Ecuador)

09:50 “Spatially-discrete modeling approach to quantify and prioritize the potential benefits of land conservation for water supply in the Southeastern USA”
Katie van Werkhoven, RTI International

10:05 Questions and panel discussion

10:25 Summary and wrap-up
George Van Houtven, RTI International