GFW Water, a new mapping tool, explores how tree loss, fires and erosion in forests affects downstream water supplies—and how investing in “natural infrastructure” can help.
Florida's Treasure Coast has turned toxic this summer, as a foul-smelling algae bloom resembling guacamole has made some of the Sunshine State's beaches untouchable. One cause is the controlled release of water from an over-full Lake Okeechobee into local rivers that flow east to the Atlantic and west to the Gulf of Mexico.
Natural infrastructure, strategically managed natural and open spaces like forests or wetlands, can direct more clean water to cities by controlling water flows, preventing sediment buildup and absorbing pollutants before they flow into waterways.
Cities and women can be key players in managing future water demand, including reducing risks from the fastest-growing water users--energy and industrial activities.
More than 80 percent of the Caribbean's wastewater enters the ocean untreated, spurring the growth of algae on coral reefs and increasing the risk of infections for swimmers, among other issues. While many have been aware of this problem in Tobago for more than 20 years, there's been little government action.
Research on future water risk finds that rapidly growing demand for water will drive the greatest increase in water stress, even more so than supply changes caused by droughts and other extreme events.
The Flint water crisis an example of what can happen in the absence of transparent, inclusive and accountable water quality regulation and public service delivery. And unfortunately, it's just one community out of many throughout the world experiencing this problem.
More than 100 companies have now committed to use the best science available as the basis for setting greenhouse gas emissions-reduction targets. Targets informed by science might well be effective in reducing risks posed by water as well—but there are hurdles to overcome first.
While droughts, floods and increasingly rapid groundwater depletion are cause for concern, this year presents unprecedented opportunities to pursue better water management. Director of WRI's Global Water program Betsy Otto explains.