A collaborative 2 year SNAP (Science for Nature and People) project seeks to answer the question “Where can natural infrastructure strategies advancing watershed protection and restoration activities make the most substantial contributions to enhancing water security for cities in Latin America?” The goal of SNAP is to identify where in Latin America there is the greatest potential for natural infrastructure to deliver source water protection and flood mitigation benefits. Our conceptual approach is that the most suitable areas for natural infrastructure strategies are where there is the greatest overlap between:
- high risk – quantified as vulnerability times exposure, and
- high opportunity – where biophysical, economic, and social characteristics of the region are best suited for natural infrastructure to be effective.
For the flood mitigation portion of the index, we will use flood risk area estimates coupled with population and land use data to compute indicators of which watersheds, for major cities, have the greatest likelihood of being responsive to natural infrastructure strategies to reduce flood risk to city dwellers. Our focus is on risk reduction for floods in river channels from upstream contributing areas, as a key context in which natural infrastructure changes related to land use / land cover and floodplain management can make meaningful contributions.