How to Turn Local Water Conservation into Good Business (Video)

At what may have been the most interesting session of the second day of this year's Clinton Global Initiative -- a discussion with leaders from big business and nonprofit orgs on how to find market solutions for protecting the environment -- Dr. Sanjayan, the lead scientist of the Nature Conservancy, discussed his agency's promising large-scale project to turn combating water crises around the world with market-based 'water protection' plans. The video after the jump explains: The fundamental idea is that people who need clean water, even in poor parts of the world, are willing to pay to get it from safe sources. Here's Sanjayan discussing the project at CGI (again, sorry for the bad quality of the video).

Sanjayan notes that the money that changes hands in the 'funds' the Nature Conservancy has created doesn't go to any sort of central coffer or government. It's a direct payment, from, for example, a family in Quito, to someone in the Andes to protect a water source to ensure it can deliver them clean water.

This creates a sterling, market-based incentive to protect water sources, and of course, a fine mechanism to encourage conservation. As Sanjayan mentions, the Conservancy initially invested $1,000 dollars in the first fund, and now it's an $8 million enterprise.

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