“An affordable supply of uncontaminated drinking water is one of the most basic measures of development, yet today it is denied to over a billion city dwellers, who are still living without ready access to either potable water or adequate sanitation. Even for those of us who are luckier, the cost of keeping pure water running from our taps is rising all the time. In the past century the world’s population tripled, but water use rose six times. Increasing pollution, rising demand, exhaustion of groundwater sources, an unstable climate and political disputes have made water an increasingly threatened resource. And because it is a natural product, from natural ecosystems, there is only a certain amount that technology can do to fix the problems. Ultimately a good supply of water relies on a balanced ecology. This report ooks at one particular link in the chain between rainfall and drinking water - the role that forests can play in helping to provide clean water supplies to people living in the world’s largest cities. This link is not simple. Forests and freshwater systems interact in many different ways : these relationships are complex and their precise nature and significance remains the subject of debate between hydrologists, natural resource economists and ecologists. We try to sort out the facts from the myths and to explain where uncertainties still exist. But we also go beyond the academic debates to look at how city dwellers are benefiting from water from forests - and in some cases where failure to recognise the role that forests play in the hydrological cycle has led to problems downstream. There are already some well known examples of cities protecting watersheds to help maintain supplies of high quality drinking water. We wanted to find out if these were exceptions or part of a more general trend and therefore analysed how many of the world’s top hundred cities drew some or all of their drinking water from protected forests*. The text draws on a research project carried out for the World Bank/WWF Alliance for Forest Conservation and Sustainable Use, which included
detailed case studies and looked at some of the hydrological, social and economic implications of the links that exist between forests, protected areas and drinking water.”
Making the links : why water and forests ?
Cities, water and protection
Three case studies : New York, Istanbul and Melbourne
Pure equity : social issues
Running pure : hydrology plus : Cloud forests
Valuing purity : economics plus : What is a protected area ?
Staying pure : Conclusions plus : the Yangtze, China RunningPure
Source : WWF France - www.wwf.fr