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Home > Basin > Andes > Andes Project on Designing and Implementing Benefit-Sharing Mechanisms (AN1)


The AN1 project set out to identify approaches that can help improve water usage, increase water productivity, allow alternative water allocation, and create enabling conditions for benefit-sharing mechanisms in watersheds in the Andes.

Researchers used a water-crop growth model to identify geographical areas where modifying the use of water upstream or allocating water to different plots downstream could make more water available. By ensuring that the newly available water was used to produce biomass such as crops (thus increasing the productivity of water), CPWF created better conditions for community-driven benefit-sharing mechanisms. Further, any surplus from additional agricultural production could benefit the poor in the watershed.

To indicate where benefit-sharing mechanisms might be successful, CPWF mapped poverty and identified geographical units, the so-called socially effective hydrological response units, in which modified use of water and land could improve agricultural production and farmers’ competitiveness.


Outcomes: Change in Knowledge and Practice

  • CPWF researchers realized the importance of considering subsoil over land cover when looking to ensure sufficient natural infiltration of rainwater on mountain slopes. This discovery can help researchers and policy makers in Colombia focus future flood prevention efforts on the analysis and strengthening of aquifers in the subsoil.
  • CPWF researchers reviewed the Fund for the Protection of Water — a private, commercial fund is regulated by Ecuador’s stock market law and tasked with ensuring ample water supply to Ecuador’s capital, Quito. The review of the fund shows that benefit-sharing mechanisms underpinned by an institutional framework, rather than social agreements and market schemes, are feasible.
  • CPWF researchers mapped areas where improved water productivity could lead to poverty alleviation. This exercise highlighted the highly variable conditions in the Andes. Adopting the analytical mapping method introduced by CPWF, the Schools of Agrarian Revolution in Ecuador identified socially-effective hydrological response units and assessed the potential for fighting poverty through increased water productivity.


Project Leader

Germán Escobar,