rojasurrego3_Anuwar HazarikaNurPhoto via Getty Images_wetland Anuwar Hazarika/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Overcoming Water Scarcity Naturally

Safe, secure, and sufficient supplies of fresh water would yield far-reaching benefits, from faster economic growth to a lower risk of violent conflict. But achieving these goals requires significant sustained investment – particularly in protection of wetlands – to meet surging demand.

GLAND – Humanity’s consumption of fresh water has long exceeded the rate of replenishment. Now, researchers are warning that this essential natural resource is running out. If we are to reverse this trend, investing in natural solutions is our best hope.

Less than 1% of all water on Earth is accessible or usable fresh water. Most is held in inland wetlands, including rivers, lakes, marshes, peatlands, and underground aquifers. These wetlands are nature’s water harvesters, cleaners, and bankers. By capturing, purifying, and storing rain and floodwater before releasing it when needed, they enable the global water cycle that ensures a constant supply.

Worldwide, wetlands’ full integration into water planning and management across all economic sectors would bring far-reaching benefits. Sufficient water supplies could stimulate economic growth, reduce conflict, and relieve environmental stress. But that requires significant sustained investment to meet surging demand.

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