FONAG (Fondo para la Proteccion del Agua), was launched in 1998 as a water protection fund, creating sustainable water conservation areas capable of providing sufficient water for the growing population of Quito. FONAG is ensuring that potable water is available for the 2.5 million people living in Ecuador’s capital while simultaneously protecting biodiversity by conserving and restoring forests and wetlands. The implementation area of Ecuador’s WaterProtection Fund is 600,000ha (almost 1.5 million acres), with 150,000ha (370,600 acres) prioritized as water sources.
Key to FONAG’s integrated water resource management is ecosystem restoration, which includes conversion of exotic to native forests and recovery of soil and ground cover in high Andean forests. Central to FONAG’s holistic approach is strategic land acquisition, restoration of wetlands and degraded forests, and impact and evidence monitoring. FONAG views the training of community leaders (as well as students and the general public) as essential to long-term nature conservation and water availability.
The establishment of conservation agreements with private and community owners is also essential to its work. To ensure optimal decision-making, FONAG generates and analyzes relevant hydrometeorological, social and environmental data and monitors the impact of its interventions to quantify return on investment.
More than twenty years ago, FONAG recognized the value of protected conservation areas as 80% of Quito’s water came from watersheds within or in buffer zones of protected areas. FONAG is sharing its invaluable knowledge of water protection and monitoring with Accion Andina restoration partners throughout the Andes.