Protecting our water sources brings a wealth of benefits
The journey of our water from source to tap is long, and not one we think much about.
By conserving these lands, we can better protect our water and generate additional benefits for people and nature.
Today, approximately 40 percent of the land in urban source watersheds of the world’s largest cities show high to moderate levels of degradation.
nature.org/beyondthesource A new report released by The Nature Conservancy, Beyond the Source: The environmental, economic and community benefits of source water protection, shows that forest protection, reforestation, and the use of cover crops can help four out of five of the 4,000 cities analyzed reduce sediment and nutrient pollution in waterways by a meaningful amount.
For one in six cities analyzed in the report, the cost of implementing source water protection activities could be recouped through savings in annual water treatment costs alone.
nature.org/beyondthesource For example, in Nairobi, Kenya, high sediment levels in the Tana River from agricultural run-off and development in the mountains catalyzed the development of Africa’s first water fund.
The fund also has downstream projected benefits including improved water yields and reduced sediment in the river.
During a recent trip to Kenya, the message from water fund investors and participants was clear: it’s in their best interest to make this work.
As cities and populations grow, and climate change adds undue pressure on vulnerable freshwater systems, maintaining healthy lands around our water sources will be increasingly vital to the future of our water security.
By investing in nature, we also invest in our future.