Green water is the water held in soil and available to plants. It is the largest fresh water resource but can only be used in situ, by plants. Green water is managed by farmers, foresters, and pasture or rangeland users.
Blue water is groundwater and stream flow, supporting aquatic ecosystems and that can be tapped for use elsewhere: for domestic and livestock water, irrigation, industrial and urban use. Blue water flow and resources, in quantity and quality, are closely determined by the management practices of upstream land users.
Green Water Credits (GWC) is a financial mechanism that supports upstream farmers to invest in improved green water management practices. Those farmers will benefit directly, but the benefits may not be sufficient to compensate their investments. To support these investments, a GWC fund needs to be created by downstream private and public water-use beneficiaries. Initially however, public funds may be required to bridge the gap between investments by upstream land users and the realisation of the benefits by those downstream.
This pilot design, coordinated by ISRIC has been piloted in Kenya and Morocco with funding from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in close collaboration with various national institutions.