Earth has a water problem.
Water crises in Cape Town and Southern California have shined a light on the plight of the planet’s fresh water in the face of climate change — and the critical role that nature plays in addressing today’s most pressing water challenges.
A new paper published in the scientific journal Ecohydrology and Hydrobiology looks at the gravest threats to our water security — and explores how nature can help us protect and manage the global water supply, sustainably. It’s this focus on nature-based solutions that drives the study’s “21st century approach” to addressing the world’s water problems.
The paper makes the case that, while traditional engineering approaches have immediate benefits in addressing water problems, they can be costly to install and maintain, are often not designed well to respond to climate change and they impair the environment. These engineering and technology approaches are not enough to tackle water crises in the face of climate change, according to Ian Harrison, a freshwater specialist for Conservation International, and one of the paper’s co-authors. In a recent interview, Human Nature spoke with Harrison about the paper.