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“A fox once watched a god approach an enchanted tree – a Toborochi – whose swollen trunk was full of water. The god carefully opened up the trunk and allowed the water to flow out; with that, the fish inside fell around the trunk. He then collected the fish with the greatest of care and closed up the trunk, ensuring that no more water would be released. After this the fox also tried to get some fish by repeating what the god did, but was irresponsible, and he neglected to close the trunk up properly. Because of that the water disappeared – wasted. He also wasted the fish by allowing more of them to escape than he could possibly eat. Thus, say the Guaraní, every year that the fox opens up the tree, wastes the water, and kills the fish for fun and not because he needs them to survive, fish will be scarce and the Parapetí River will be dry”. Legend told by the indigenous Guaraní communities of the Bolivian Chaco

The waters of the Parapetí River represent the heart and soul of the Bolivian Chaco.




people have known since time




look after the waters and fish of the Parapetí, they will look after us in return.


DEFORESTATION and unsustainable LIVESTOCK rearing are not only damaging the health of these ecosystems, they are also damaging the health and wellbeing of the communities which make them home.

In Bolivia we created the WATERSHARED Initiative, promoting the conservation of forests and water sources through Reciprocal Watershared Agreements.

WE STILL HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY to conserve large areas of forest, safeguarding provision of good-quality water.

Through WATERSHARED:  We help families to conserve their water sources, linking stakeholders from the upper and lower watersheds.  Local authorities are leading the conservation of their water sources.  We are inspiring other countries such as Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Mexico, which have already replicated our model.


local institutions,

to achieve long-term, sustainable conservation

OUR MODEL Innovate in conservation through investigation and science Transfer knowledge to promote the scale-up of Watershared Create and strengthen local institutions— Watershared Funds—aimed at the conservation of areas considered key for conserving water supplies Strengthen local institutions for the creation and management of protected areas and other conservation units

IMPACT Improved ecosystem health: ● Well conserved forest cover. ● Better water quality.

50 municipalities are implementing Watershared in Bolivia

6,345 families

have benefited from packages of productive incentives

248,279 water users are contributing financially to water funds


335,740 hectares

of forests conserved under the Watershared program

1,316,290 hectares

of forests conserved under municipal protected areas

OUR GOALS FOR 2023: More ecosystems conserved through Watershared • •

40 new local water funds created, with financial backing ensuring long-term sustainability. 47 already existing funds with long-term financial sustainability assured.

More ecosystems conserved through protected areas • •

New protected areas created covering 1 million hectares Long-term financial sustainability for management of at least 5 protected areas assured.

TO ACHIEVE OUR GOALS, WE NEED TO: EXPAND WATERSHARED TO ALL OF THE TROPICAL ANDES: We need to undertake the Watershared School outside of Bolivia, and establish agreements, alliances, and seed funding for new local Watershared Funds.

STRENGTHEN OUR OWN INSTITUTIONAL CAPACITY: We need to introduce new methods and technologies for conservation, as well as achieving large-scale impact through wider knowledge transfer.

INCREASE OUR AVAILABLE FUNDING: Our organizational budget requires US$12 million over the next 5 years.

COMARAPA’S WATERSHARED FUND, a success story to replicate

In 2008 we organized the signing of an agreement aiming to support the conservation of the water sources in Comarapa municipality, Bolivia. Together with local stakeholders we created a Watershared Fund with the goal of conserving 8,354 hectares of the watershed of the Churo Negro River, supplying both the municipality and its surrounding areas. Ten years later, these efforts have consolidated a local institutionality for the conservation of their water sources. Now, the stakeholders who signed the original Watershared Fund, as well as new allies, have signed a new agreement, with the objective of increasing the Watershared Fund’s conservation impacts, thus independently continuing with the work originally driven by Natura. María Teresa Vargas Directora ejecutiva

PEI Natura  
PEI Natura