Enhancing water security and bolster economic development through landscape conservation, restoration, and sustainable management
Over the next 15 years, businesses and governments worldwide will invest an estimated US$ 10 trillion in water infrastructure alone. As dams and treatment plants age, water demand increases, and more frequent extreme weather events threaten our water resources, need is growing for lower-cost solutions to secure ample and clean water.
At the same time, efforts to secure water resources with innovative “natural infrastructure” approaches – such as forest protection, watershed restoration, and sustainable management of landscapes – are expanding. World Resources Institute (WRI) is dedicated to scaling up these smart, cost-effective solutions. We leverage WRI’s geospatial mapping (e.g., Aqueduct and Global Forest Watch and economic expertise to identify water risks, unveil natural infrastructure opportunities, and inform smart strategies to secure water resources.
Our research shows that natural infrastructure solutions are often better for ecosystems, human communities, and bank accounts than traditional concrete-and-steel approaches. For example, six U.S. cities saved at least 60% of their investment by taking the natural infrastructure approach. Natural infrastructure also serves as a complement to traditional water infrastructure; it can increase longevity of existing water management systems.
Through our projects in the United States, Brazil, India, and elsewhere, we convene and empower champions at all levels of decision-making. We provide the best available evidence base and best practice guidance to put natural infrastructure into action. And we steward collective learning through extensive networks of water utility managers, conservationists, businesses, and governments that are united behind a common goal: to enhance water security and bolster economic development through landscape conservation and restoration.