The working for water programme: evolution of a payments for ecosystem services mechanism

A payments for ecosystem services (PES) system came about in South Africa with the establishment of the government-funded Working for Water (WfW) programme that clears mountain catchments and riparian zones of invasive alien plants to restore natural fire regimes, the productive potential of land, biodiversity, and hydrological functioning. The success of the programme is largely attributed to it being mainly funded as a poverty-relief initiative, although water users also contribute through their water fees.