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World Water Day 2018: Nature-Based Solutions

This Thursday is World Water Day! Every year, World Water Day is a day to bring attention to the importance of water. The theme of this year's World Water Day is "Nature for Water," highlighting nature-based solutions to end the global water crisis. Damaged ecosystems affect the quality and quantity of available drinking water, leaving 2.1 billion people in need of safe drinking water. This affects their health, education, and livelihoods. With nature-based solutions, we can reduce floods, droughts, and pollution– the answer is in nature! 

Nature-based solutions (NBS), such as reconnecting rivers to floodplains, restoring wetlands, and reforestation, is a cost-effective way to rebalance the water cycle, reduce the effects of climate change, and improve human health and livelihoods1
 
This is where water demand, availability, and quality stand today. Nature-based solutions will not only help improve the world's water crisis, but it will also help rebuild our climate and environment.

Water Demand

  • 2.1 billion people lack safe drinking water
  • Global water demand will increase by 30% by 2050
  • Drinking water only accounts for less than 1% of global supply

Water Availability

  • 1.9 billion people live in water-scarce areas

Water Quality

  • 1.8 billion people use drinking water lacking protection against human feces
  • Over 80% of untreated wastewater flows back into the environment

Climate & Environment

  • By 2050, 1.6 billion people will be at risk from floods
  • At least 65% of forested land is degraded
  • 64-71% of wetlands have been lost since 1990
  • Soil erosion carries away 25-50 billion tons of topsoil annually

Nature-bases solutions may not be the only answer to ending the world water crisis, but they offer cost-effective and innovative ways to improve the water infrastructure we currently have. With the implementation of NBS, such as reforestation, the water availability, supply, and quality will greatly improve. Firstly, the availability and supply of water can be improved through water storage via wetlands, soil moisture, and/or groundwater recharging. It's more sustainable and cost-effective than gray infrastructure, such as dams. Conservation agriculture, which protects soil from erosion, can drastically reduce pollution from agriculture. Riparian buffers are strips of land along water courses planted with native trees and shrubs–they can drastically reduce pollution from agriculture and mitigate extreme flooding1.

UN Water sets Sustainability Development Goals for each World Water Day; NBS helps them achieve Goal 6, which focuses to "commit the world to ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030." It also plays a role in other goals. NBS creates new jobs and improved health from better quality water. This also decreases poverty and hunger. Nature-based solutions also require little or no energy & can reduce reliance on energy-hungry gray systems, providing more sustainable water sources. Lastly, Reforestation reduces pollution by filtration & expands natural habitats. 

Trees provide a habitat for animals, purify water sources, control flooding and erosion, and help replenish the soil with nutrients it needs for farming. It's so amazing to know that reforestation does so much more beyond restoring habitats! Our partner, Eden Projects, works towards planting trees to save lives in areas like Madagascar, Nepal, and Haiti. These areas are suffering from deforestation, causing so many problems in the community and environment: 25% of the population in Nepal lives below the poverty line with 70% being forest-dependent; 10% of Madagascar's original forests remain today, and only 2% of Haiti's land is forested2.

 

 

Through Eden Projects, we plant 5 trees for each apparel item sold. This week, we want to bring awareness to the world water crisis and nature-based solutions! For World Water Day use code TREES for 20% off all Waiakea apparel