El Agua Nos Une – SuizAgua América Latina

Fabricato - industrial water treatment and reuse plant
Planta de tratamiento y reuso agua industrial ©Fabricato

Strategic partnerships for water management

Water management is one of the main challenges of the 21st century. Thus, the knowledge generation to make decisions and better collaboration among sectors; are the axis of the present and future well-being of humanity. The initiative “El Agua Nos Une” articulates the work of public institutions, business associations and research centers. It aims at: i) scaling corporate water stewardship in Colombia; ii) strengthening knowledge on water uses, particularly in the agricultural sector; iii) contributing to the national water quality and quantity monitoring program; iv) developing an investment scheme in ecosystem services; and; v) facilitating a community of practice on water footprint and corporate water management in Latin America.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Latin America
Agriculture & food security
Water resources conservation
Water sector policy
Agricultural water resources
Water diplomacy and security
01.01.2016 - 31.08.2021
CHF 2'150'000
Background The OECD estimates that by 2030, nearly 4 billion people in the world - almost half of the population - will live under conditions of severe water stress. The Water Objective (SDG 6) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development calls for action and mobilization of the different sectors to face the global water crisis. In addition, the private sector is increasingly aware that weaknesses in integrated water resource management are a substantial risk to business. Therefore, committed alliances among different actors must promote good governance, equitable access to water and efficient water management. In this context, there is a need for recognized and standardized tools to lead water risk management at corporate and territorial levels

-Facilitate a public private partnership to provide at least 20 convincing business cases.

-Scaling corporate water stewardship in Latin America linked to the Pacific Alliance.

-2 water policy instruments enriched (agriculture and waterquality).

-1 scheme for investment on ecosystem services established.


Target groups

Local communities, public institutions, business association, companies, companies’ stakeholders, water practitioners and citizens reached by public awareness actions.

Medium-term outcomes

Lines of action 2016 - 2020

-Scaling business cases of corporate water stewardship in Colombia with 28 partner companies. Partnership with ANDI, CNPML, Insitu and Quantis. It includes water footprint assessment (ISO 14046) and reduction, value chain engagement and implementation of collective actions in the territory.

-Knowledge development and 5 business cases in Mexico, in coordination with CONAGUA and the Life Cycle Analysis Center (CADIS); focused on strengthening the relation with the Pacific Alliance.

-Invigorate the Community of practice in Latin America, reaching professionals from more than 17 countries. As well as, facilitating the exchange among: Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Chile and Brazil.

-Contribution to the National Water Study 2018, IDEAM, providing information on water demand, availability, hydrological risks and trends.

-Contribution to the design and implementation of the Water Monitoring Program (quantity and quality) with IDEAM.

-Development of stronger criteria for agricultural planning based on crop requirements and water availability, with IDEAM, UPRA and CTA.

-Develop the investment scheme in ecosystem services "miParamo" for the conservation of the high mountain ecosystem and improve living conditions of the vulnerable population.

-Develop and implement a responsible consumption campaign from and focused on young people. Linked developed with #EnModoAcción.


Results from previous phases:  

-The water footprint went from being a little-known concept to a tool used by the private sector, public institutions, academia and research centers. 

-A productive Public Private Partnership experience with 11 multinational companies from diverse productive sectors

-The partner companies invested about 2.5 Mio USD in the reduction and monitoring of the water footprint and in actions at the water basin.

-The water footprint was included, for the first time, in the National Water Study of (ENA), as IDEAM’s renowned public policy instrument.

-Knowledge management and communication was achieved and supported international visibility and scaling up in the region (Peru and Chile).

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
Foreign academic and research organisation
Private sector
  • Foreign private sector South/East
  • Research Organisation of South East
  • SDC Field Office

Implementing partner
National Institute of Environmental Studies (IDEAM), Rural Agricultural Planning Unit (UPRA) / Ministry of Agriculture, National Business Association (ANDI), CEO Water Mandate – UN GC, 30 partner companies, Centre of Science Technology (CTA), National Cleaner Production Center (CNPML), Quantis and Insitu, Alianza BioCuenca (water fund), Good Stuff International.

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF   2'150'000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF   2'124'344 Total project since first phase Budget inclusive project partner CHF  5'700'000
Project phases Phase 4 01.01.2016 - 31.08.2021   (Current phase) Phase 2 01.06.2012 - 31.05.2015   (Completed) Phase 1 01.06.2009 - 31.08.2013   (Completed)