Target users are businesses or public-private partnerships pursuing watershed investments, either with in-house expertise or in partnership with consultants, conservation NGOs, or other technical experts.
RELEASE YEAR & UPDATES
RIOS was first released in 2013 and is currently operating Version 1.1.8 (released August 2015).
PURPOSE AND OBJECTIVE
RIOS is a spatial modelling tool that uses local data inputs to generate maps that inform the design of watershed-based natural infrastructure investments.
The tool optimizes watershed investments for multiple benefits to protect clean water supplies, mitigate flood risk, and achieve additional biodiversity and social goals.
SOFTWARE AND DATA INPUT REQUIRE
RIOS requires Microsoft Windows; an optional data pre-processing tool requires ArcGIS 9.3.1 or higher. Additionally, access to a GIS tool like ArcGIS or Quantum GIS is needed to prepare data and explore results.
Users are required to provide the best locally available biophysical, economic, and social data inputs. The User’s Manual suggests publicly available regional and global datasets.
Maps, in the form of GIS raster files, show the optimal location for natural infrastructure investments to maximize ecological return on investment related to user-specified goals and constraints (e.g., erosion control, nutrient retention, flood mitigation, biodiversity).
EXPERTISE & TIME INVESTMENT REQUIRED
The tool requires basic knowledge of ecosystem services and hydrology and an ability to prepare spatial data inputs and interpret outputs.
1–6 months required, depending upon complexity of analysis and time spent preparing data inputs.
EXAMPLES OF COMPANY USERS
Public-private partnerships have explored scenarios of watershed investment with RIOS to improve water supplies for municipal use (Agua Tica, Costa Rica, and Nairobi Water Fund, Kenya); hydropower and Nairobi Water Fund, Kenya)