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The Nature Conservancy - Nature for Water Facility

TNC coordinates public, private and civil society for land and water conservation with the goal of improving water security globally. 


Investee The Nature Conservancy - Nature for Water Facility, TNC founded 1951
Location Global, focus on Sub-Saharan Africa and India
Sector Environment
Funding start 2022
Funding type Grant




90% of urban watersheds globally are degraded, which has led to a worldwide water scarcity. The primary cause of degraded watersheds is poor land use upstream, which reduces water quality and leads to diminished water flow, unable to keep up with downstream demand. As a result, up to two-thirds of the world’s population could lack access to water by 2050.

To address watershed degradation, most communities and institutions rely on expensive grey infrastructure solutions, such as reservoirs, aqueducts and treatment plants, and overlook cheaper, more effective upstream “Nature-based Solutions”, such as reforestation and sustainable agricultural practices.



Founded in the United States in 1951, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is one of the largest and most far-reaching environmental organizations in the world. TNC has developed a successful multi-stakeholder solution termed “Water Fund”, which is a financial and governance mechanism that coordinates public, private and civil society for land and conservation measures. Water Funds require downstream users, such as utilities, businesses, agriculture and local governments to pay for the upstream protection of watersheds. They improve water security, quantity and quality, applying Nature-based Solutions, which are ways of working with nature to solve socio-environmental challenges and simultaneously improve livelihoods and biodiversity. An example of a Nature-based Solution is the removal of invasive plant species from source watersheds in Cape Town, South Africa.

In order to scale up new and established watershed programs, TNC is building on its track record with Water Funds and has set up a new “Nature for Water Facility” (the Facility). The Facility will house a central team within TNC, comprised of scientists and functional experts, to centralize resources and codify best practices, based on TNC’s 20-year experience in establishing and implementing Water Funds. The team will provide technical assistance, stakeholder management and implementation services based on local requirements.


Impact depth

Over the past 20 years, TNC has set up over 40 Water Funds globally, improving the management of 530’000 hectares of land and impacting more than 100’000 people.


By investing in TNC’s Facility, we align with and contribute to Goals 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation),8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), 13 (Climate Action), and 15 (Life on Land) of United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.