Clean water doesn’t come cheap. Communities and businesses often rely on expensive water filtration infrastructure to ensure their clean water supplies. But communities around the world have been protecting upstream forests instead of building new, costly water treatment infrastructure. Can this strategy work in the US south?
Water treatment is expensive business, and cities around the world – from Denver in North America to Zapalinamé in Latin America to Dar es Salaam in Africa are learning to reduce those costs by investing in the well-being of the forests that capture, filter, and deliver the water.
Each case is different, however, and such mechanisms aren’t suited to all terrains.
The World Resources Institute (WRI) has investigated this potential in the southern part of the United States, and today published its findings in “ Forests for Water: Exploring Payments for Watershed Services in the US South.” The issue brief provides an overview of how businesses and water utilities in the United States and Latin America are pursuing upstream forest conservation as a cost-effective means of ensuring clean water supplies. It also suggests how many of these approaches could be applicable in the southern United States.
Ecosystem Marketplace takes a deeper look at The US South can Protect its Water by Paying to Protect its Forests.