How Natural Infrastructure Can Improve the Water Supply In Your City

From Next City, here are five places that are successfully using their watershed’s natural infrastructure to purify and conserve.

  • New York: The Next City piece states: “the city’s extra-urban strategies include a mix of land protection, reforestation and agricultural best management practices. Needing to comply with the Safe Drinking Water Act in the ‘90s, officials realized they could either build an $8-10 billion treatment plant or clean city water much more cheaply through partnerships with farmers and loggers to address runoff and erosion. They’ve also invested in open space and land conservation upstate to keep streams and rivers pristine.”
  • San Diego: This city is an example of how we can all do more with less. Regional farmers line canals, use drip irrigation and use micro sprinklers to conserve water. According to the Next City piece, these agricultural conservation measures will provide 37 percent of the city’s water by 2021.
  • Santa Fe: This one may sound out of place, but it’s a great idea. By combating wildfires, Santa Fe is conserving its watershed. “In 2000, a fire in neighboring Los Alamos wiped out hillside vegetation, allowing topsoil and ash to pour freely into rivers and streams, with a hefty cleanup fee of around $17 million. Instead of waiting for a costly, crippling blaze, leaders in Santa Fe realized they needed to prevent such a disaster from happening again. Now, they’re investing in programs to thin out regional tree growth and burn regular, low-intensity fires every few years to keep their water clean.”
  • Cape Town: In this South African city, non-native species such as pine, acacia and eucalyptus threaten the water supply because they need so much water to survive and spread. A program in Cape Town trains people to remove the invasive species and restore native ones, which need less water. The program has resulted in stream flow gains and also creates more than 30,000 jobs each year.
  • Manila: The capital of the Philippines is dealing with water scarcity. According to the Next City article, “instead of turning to large engineering projects, agencies are funding riparian restoration. ‘Adopt-a-watershed’ programs partner volunteers with hillsides that need to be replanted, and one utility estimates that around 500,000 previously stripped areas will be re-forested by 2016.”


See the original article here for more information: