Integrating nature into mainstream infrastructure systems can produce lower cost and more resilient services. This report guides developing country service providers and their partners on how to seize this opportunity. It reviews approaches and examples of how to integrate green infrastructure into mainstream project appraisal processes and investments.
Traditional infrastructure systems worldwide rely on built solutions to support the smooth and safe functioning of societies. In the face of multiplying environmental threats, this approach alone can no longer provide the climate resiliency and level of services required in the 21st century.
Natural systems such as forests, floodplains, and soils can contribute to clean, reliable water supply and protect against floods and drought. In many circumstances, combining this “green infrastructure” with traditional “gray infrastructure,” such as dams, levees, reservoirs, treatment systems, and pipes, can provide next generation solutions that enhance system performance and better protect communities.
Service providers such as water utilities, flood management agencies, irrigation agencies, and hydropower companies can deliver more cost-effective and resilient services by integrating green infrastructure into their plans. However, to guide its appropriate use in mainstream infrastructure programs, green infrastructure must be as rigorously evaluated and carefully designed as gray projects.
This report offers service providers a framework to evaluate green infrastructure from a technical, environmental, social, and economic perspective, and to assess key enabling conditions, with illustrative examples.
It also provides guidance for policymakers and development partners, who must set the incentives and enabling conditions to mainstream solutions that unite green and gray infrastructure.