Peru faces an acute water crisis that is intensifying with climate change, as the extreme droughts, floods, fires, and landslides of recent years show. Natural infrastructure (like forests and wetlands) help to manage this crisis, both for upstream rural communities and downstream water users. Through NIWS, USAID is working to scale-up efforts to protect and restore natural infrastructure for water security and climate resilience while closing gender gaps in natural resources management.


NIWS works in partnership with natural infrastructure investors including regional governments, water utilities, national agencies, and private companies to mobilize investments in natural water infrastructure.

NIWS works to grow and diversify a portfolio of public and private investments in natural infrastructure, and to bring an existing pipeline of projects to implementation, strengthen implementers’ capacities to manage risks, and document the multiple benefits these projects generate. NIWS also works with national and subnational authorities, project developers and implementers, local communities, universities, and civil society to strengthen the governance and enabling environment for natural infrastructure investments.

To ensure sustainability, NIWS is working to strengthen individual and institutional capacities across technical and strategic skills and increase collaboration within the complex system that facilitates investment in natural infrastructure for water security.


In its first phase (2017-2023) NIWS achieved the following:

  • Developed a portfolio of over 80 natural infrastructure projects valued at over US $440 million with local funders and over 240 local communities, with $20 million of investments from that portfolio already invested.
  • Strengthened capacities of more than 5,000 professionals to develop, manage, monitor, and communicate investments in natural infrastructure for water security.
  • Increased credibility and clarity for decision-makers regarding the water benefits of natural infrastructure interventions, including original research and a series of systematic reviews.
  • Developed a suite of new tools to guide the identification, design, and management of effective, equitable and sustainable interventions in natural infrastructure.
  • Strengthened a common, multi-sectoral vision for natural infrastructure for water security in Peru, which contributed to improvements to over a dozen policies, plans, and regulations and recommendations from the OECD Water Governance Initiative for strengthening financing for NI.
  • Strengthened the capacity of institutions to develop and implement natural infrastructure projects, such as reducing the time from idea to agreement for these projects by Lima’s water utility by 73%
  • Secured the first institutional commitments and policy changes from the leading authorities in Peru’s water sector to address gender gaps in water management.
  • Recognized, trained, and connected over 100 women leaders through the Leadership Program for Women in Water Management.