This study aimed to analyze the Conservador das Águas program, in the municipality of Extrema, Minas Gerais, Brazil. The case of Extrema got highlighted because it was the first municipal initiative to pay the landowners in return for guaranteeing the supply of environmental services aimed at improving water resources. It was found that the imminent water shortages in large urban centers can be considered a conditioning factor in prioritizing operation areas of payment for environmental services programs in water resources management. The study concludes that the results of this first experience in payment for environmental services projects can assist in the development of future scenarios of water resource management from the perspective of a more sustainable rural development.
payment for environmental services; water resources management; water and soil conservation.