This is how forests protect water supplies in cities around the world

  • The world’s urban leaders need to account for the role of forests in securing clean water for residents and the agricultural lands that cities rely on.
  • For example, restoring forests around Rio de Janeiro could help the city avoid $79 million in costs for water treatment.
  • Urban forests can improve urban stormwater management and reduce the hazards posed by flooding while also providing other environmental and cultural benefits.

Water is essential to human health and well-being. In cities, leaders strive to provide secure access to clean, safe and affordable water. In rural areas, farmers hope for adequate rain and healthy rivers to produce healthy crops. The coronavirus pandemic reminds us how critical clean water is to health and hygiene, as public health officials have urged frequent handwashing. And yet, the world is on the precipice of a historic global water crisis.

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