In the Western U.S., federally owned forests provide up to 52% of drinking water supplies, but many are overstocked and at risk of fire, tree die-offs, and other disturbances. Forest and ecosystem restoration projects in these source water basins have the potential to protect and enhance water resources. However, funding these projects at the pace and scale needed to meaningfully address risks to our water supply is challenging. Here, we discuss how understanding water-related benefits of restoration projects can support increased funding through a conservation finance tool, the Forest Resilience Bond (FRB). We explain this financing model, present an example of a successful FRB project in the North Yuba watershed in Northern California, and discuss how these projects can benefit hydroelectric utilities like Yuba Water Agency. In particular, we explore the science of quantifying water-related benefits such as water supply enhancement and fire risk and how that knowledge can be leveraged to support an FRB.