Ecosystem functioning is something many of us in the water sector know a lot about. We know that river ecosystems need particular flows, temperatures, inputs and outputs to respond and flourish. What we are not good at doing, however, is recognising that just like a river ecosystem, our social ‘ecosystems’ also need particular inputs and outputs to thrive. This presentation will argue that valuing and investing in our social capital, which is made up of ourselves, our relationships and our networks, is just as important as protecting and restoring the river ecosystems we feel so passionate about. Drawing on personal experience, insights and leading research, the key components of healthy social ecosystems will be discussed, and some examples provided of how we can create such ecosystems for ourselves, our workplaces and the human and ecological communities we care about.