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Beyond the Source: The Environmental, Economic and Community Benefits of Water Source Protection
February 23, 2017
Cities across the globe are growing at an incredible pace and with that growth comes the need for more water to address sanitation, food and energy requirements. Water security is a serious threat to global prosperity and while progress is being made, more solutions are needed to tackle problems related to deforestation, poor agricultural practices and development. Investment in nature can help cities and rural communities, companies and farmers plan for a future where the needs of people and the environment can be balanced, especially when it comes to water.
The Nature Conservancy's new report, Beyond the Source, seeks to illustrate the value of nature to cities looking to secure water supplies while adding a number of benefits that address major global challenges. By restoring forests and working with farmers and ranchers to improve their land management practices, we can improve water quality and reduce water treatment costs for four out of five downstream cities serving 1.4 billion people. Those same activities can provide millions of rural farmers with new sources of income and food, grow trees that absorb carbon from our atmosphere and provide habitat for pollinators that are critical to our food production. For roughly half of all cities, nature-based activities can be implemented for as little as $2 annually.