Public-Private-Partnership: Pilot Development of a Mechanism for Payment for Watershed Services in Chishui River Basin

This PDA is helping to set up a Payment for Watershed Services (PWS) mechanism in Chishui River Basin to address deteriorating ecosystems and improve the livelihood of poor upstream residents.

Report Card

Completed in March 2013, this PDA helped

  • Develop a mechanism for payment for watershed services (PWS) in Chishui Watershed by conducting
    • A livelihoods assessment of the Long Tangba community of Xienong Village in Wuma River Basin and a hydrological assessment of the Wuma River, and
    • Surveys of willingness/capacity to participate in a PWS scheme and an Expression of Interest from the local government, potential buyers and potential sellers to participate in a PWS


The Wuma River, the main branch of Chishui River, originates from the town of Changgang, southeast of Renhuai City, flows through Tanchang, Wuma, Luban to the west, and into the town of Maoba. It is approximately 45 kilometers long. The area of the Wuma watershed is estimated at 625.14 square kilometers.

The good quality and stable quantity of water in the Wuma River are crucial for the efficient and profitable operation of liquor-manufacturing enterprises located downstream. At present, about 57% of the total basin faces serious soil erosion. This represents approximately 80,000 tons of sediment flowing into Chishui River every year. Water contamination is another problem and is caused by unsustainable land uses by upstream farmers and untreated drainage of domestic wastes.

The PDA is helping to

  • Improve understanding of the causes and impacts of unsustainable relationships between upstream and downstream stakeholders through hydrological and livelihood assessments
  • Identify and engage potential buyers and sellers of the watershed services in a business relationship
  • Increase awareness of the PWS scheme among relevant public and private stakeholders in the Chishui River Basin

Expected Results

Innovative market-oriented payment mechanism for watershed conservation and livelihood improvement established and replicated in other watersheds


  • Wuma pilot established with a lucid statement of Payment for Watershed Services as a finance mechanism
  • Research reports on hydrological conditions in the Wuma watershed, on livelihood in farming communities and on water quality/quantity issues face by the liquor industry in Wuma watershed
  • An hydrological analytical map to be used for scaling up interventions within the Chishui River basin or for planning PWS replicas in other watersheds along the Yangtze
  • A social economic profile of upstream poor farming communities showing the transition from subsistence agriculture to sustainable resource management
  • A workshop to share results of the intervention and define future steps to key stakeholders, including government agencies