This study discusses some insights for adaptive lake management from the perspective of ecosystem services (ES). Based on evidence from 46 advanced Payments for Watershed Services (PWS) projects implemented in 16 developing countries, and an interactive governance interpretation of this evidence, three layers of services for watershed management are distinguished, including (i) ES provided by ecosystems; (ii) land-water conservation services (CS) provided by upstream citizens; and (iii) intermediary organizing services (OS) provided by watershed management organizations. The three-layer service perspective indicates the need for management regime shifts regarding monitoring, funding and governance. A multilayer regime shift between monitoring, funding and governance for lake management also is discussed, using a Bolivian PWS scheme as an illustration. It indicates how lake management organizations can provide intermediary OS to coordinate exchanges between upstream payees and downstream payers. Upstream payees provide land-water CS to obtain supply-side payments. Land-water CS improve water-related ES to enhance downstream land-water uses. Downstream payers provide demand-side payments and benefit from better land-water uses. This study was undertaken to broaden the vision of managing lakes and their watersheds and to guide policymakers, managers and other stakeholders in adopting adaptive management regimes for both locally and globally sustainable development.