Nature-based solutions have gained a high profile in recent years as policy leaders, development practitioners and business have awakened to the multiple benefits made possible by harnessing services from nature in solutions for sustainable development and the climate crisis. Water security is no different, with the potential for integrating natural infrastructure into planning and investment in water resource management, alongside or in place of built infrastructure, attracting intensifying interest.
Further progress in the application, scaling and financing of nature-based solutions for water will benefit from better evidence for how the natural and built infrastructure work in concert, as well as the trade-offs between them. Data, and new tools for interrogating data, will help to bridge divides between nature and engineering in practice and policy. This lecture explores the challenges encountered in trying to increase use of nature-based solutions for water and methods and tools for overcoming them, including through cases from the Zambezi and Tana basins.