October 5 1998
FINANCING FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
This briefing paper will summarise some promising ideas on how to finance some meaningful protection for natural areas.
Catchment Protection Bonds
This technique was used by New York City in 1996. The basic idea is straight forward, rather than paying more and more for water treatment the bond is used to repair land in the catchment and riparian corridors. The work in the catchment means that the water quality is improved before it enters water storages, thereby lowering the water suppliers treatment costs and capital outlays on new plant and equipment.
Paying for Water production
The national water reform agenda looks at using pricing policies to regulate the use of water. So far it has missed the important area of ensuring supply through protecting water producing areas in upper catchments. We believe that land managers who are contributing clean water to the system should receive payments or water credits for those contributions.
Leasing Land for Nature Conservation or Water Production
This idea is also quite simple. Rather than buying land and having a government agency manage it, the local and state governments could lease land and pay the existing managers.
This would allow scarce government funds to go much further and create a positive incentive to retain habitat areas on private land.
The lease could also be supplemented by infrastructure agreements or conservation agreements under the Integrated Planning Act, the Nature Conservation Act or local laws.
We would envisage that the leases would be for 99 years with an option to buy. A lease could cover the whole of a property or just part of it.