Needs and opportunities to incorporate natural infrastructure in water management in Latin America - Fondos de Agua

Latin America is a water-rich region; however, water security is being challenged. This is due to increased stress and the effects of climate change. Natural infrastructure can help mitigate some of these water risks in a cost-effective manner. Yet, regulatory and policy frameworks
are not generating adequate incentives to do so.

This is the starting point of Hugo Contreras’ article, recently published by Network Industries magazine Quarterly, NIQ vol. 19 in its fourth issue entitled “Public Policy and Water Regulatory Framework: Some examples of the Americas”.

Most of the scenarios indicate that water risks will increase in the coming years for Latin America. On the one hand, there is a growing demand for water due to population increase, economic activity and energy generation. On the other hand, climate change is affecting rainfall patterns. These climate changes show that droughts and floods are occurring more often.

Nonetheless, the traditional infrastructure solutions that are traditionally contemplated to face these challenges, such as dams, aqueducts and treatment plants, require investments that exceed the financial capacity of the Region.

Should we include nature as part of the solution, we can obtain a cost-effective solutions that can complement the traditional approach. In order to do so, the regulatory framework and institutional frameworks must be adapted to allow for the inclusion of nature-based solutions.

The article describes the challenges and opportunities identified in the regulatory frameworks of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico, to fully benefit from these alternative solutions as complements to overcome their water security challenges.

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