• Water, as a natural resource, is strategic for development. It is linked to all human and economic activities, and it is therefore fundamental for ensuring the quality of life and well-being of populations.
  • Water is key for Guatemala: for human consumption, agricultural activity, tourism and electricity generation, as well as for other economic and social activities that allow the development of the country.
  • It is vital to contribute to the protection of ecosystems that provide us with fresh water in Guatemala and throughout the Latin American region to secure our future.

Country’s context

Due to its geographic position, Guatemala is in the transit of the humid winds that originate in the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, and as a consequence and according to the annual water balances (average annual volumes), the country counts on a significant amount of water that abundantly exceeds the resource demand. (Water Diagnosis of the Americas, IANAS).

The average annual availability of surface and groundwater is estimated at 97,120 million m3

Despite the annual availability of surface and groundwater, physical evidence such as dry rivers on the south coast and the disappearance of lakes in the south-east, as well as increasing population demands for a better drinking water service, especially in the metropolitan area, and the growing conflicts over water use in various parts of the country indicate that there are areas and periods with significant deficits that cannot be correctly identified yet because the national information system still does not produce the necessary hydrological information, consisting of monthly balances, but only the generated annual average balances from 1975 (INDE), 1992 (UNESCO-INSIVUMEH) and 1994 (PLAMAR).

Context of the Metropolitan Region of Guatemala

It is estimated that the Metropolitan Region of Guatemala has a population of approximately 3 million inhabitants and a per capita GDP of 51,534 annually (USD 7,000), making it the largest and most productive urban center in Central America. It is formed by the set of urban areas of 12 municipalities, including Guatemala, Villa Nueva, Mixco, Santa Catarina Pinula, San Miguel Petapa, Amatitlán, Villa Canales, San José Pinula, Fraijanes, Chinautla, San Juan Sacatepéquez and San Pedro Sacatepéquez.

The demand for water has increased with the increase in population and consumption levels. According to a study carried out by EMPAGUA, there is a deficit in water production capacity equivalent to 150,000 cubic meters per day (a production capacity of approximately 550,000m3 per day and an approximate demand of 700,000m3) only for the municipality of Guatemala, and therefore without taking into account the supply and demand of the other conurbated municipalities. This poses strong challenges for all social sectors.

The provision of water service for the Metropolitan Region of Guatemala depends on 16 sub-basins located in the same Metropolitan Area, which represent more than 91% of the consumption, and then water from 4 sub-basins outside the metropolitan area, basically from the Xayá-Pixcaya System.

In order to contribute to the water supply of the Metropolitan Region of Guatemala and its inhabitants, since 2012, the Latin American Alliance of Water Funds has called public, private, and civil society actors to unite with the mission of conserving and preserving sources of surface water and groundwater supplies for the benefit of people and nature.

Sustainable water basins help regulate the quality and quantity of water for human, agricultural, commercial and industrial consumption more efficiently by promoting better infiltration, regulating surface flows and naturally retaining sediments and contaminants. The Water Funds, as a financial and governance mechanism, help protect this vital resource for cities and their inhabitants.

Foundation for the Conservation of Water of the Metropolitan Region of Guatemala – FUNCAGUA

FUNCAGUA is the result of the joint effort of private institutions, civil society and academia, who share a common vision for the future: to help protect water sources that supply water to more than 3 million people living in The Metropolitan Region of Guatemala, contributing to the sustainable development and well-being of the region.

Priority Basins of FUNCAGUA

FUNCAGUA will promote the long-term conservation and restoration of areas that include: northeastern Guatemala, zones 17 and 18; the ravines between Mixco and Chinautla; the Mixco highlands, including Cerro Alux; highlands of Bárcenas between Villa Nueva and Amatitlan; the ravines of Guatemala, particularly in zones 11, 13, 15 and 16; the foot of Santa Catarina Pinula mount and Villa Canales; the hills and ravines in San Jose Pinula and the north of Fraijanes; and areas of Mountains and Ravines in Tecpan, Zaragoza, Santa Cruz Balanya among other municipalities of the Xayá-Pixcayá System. The areas have been prioritized based on a modeling of intervention areas, using criteria of topography, runoff, precipitation, infiltration and recharge, among others.


FUNCAGUA has been able to mobilize approximately Q5 million (USD 675,000) as seed capital to start operations and the initial implementation of pilot projects especially for protection of soils and forests, which contribute to water conservation directly.

FUNCAGUA’s objectives:

  • To contribute in improving the potential recharge of aquifers in the Metropolitan Area;
  • To reduce runoff and therefore the risk of landslides by extreme hydrometeorological events;
  • To generate greater awareness and education among the different users of water around the problems associated with scarcity, and the possible solutions to it;
  • To improve the capacity of management of financial resources in favor of the conservation of water in the metropolitan region and;
  • To monitor the environment linked to integrated water management in the Metropolitan Area.

FUNCAGUA’s founding partners are:

  • Central America Bottling Corporation (cbc),
  • Cervecería Centroamericana,
  • Cementos Progreso,
  • Coca Cola FEMSA,
  • Grupo Cayalá,
  • Corporación Multiinversiones,
  • Pantaleón y
  • The Nature Conservancy (TNC).

Recently, FUNCAGUA has hosted the Private Investigation Institute on Climate Change, the Defenders of Nature Foundation and the Guatemala Chamber of Construction as partners.