Planèt'eau > Freshwater > 3 - Collective solutions to protect freshwaters

3 - Collective solutions to protect freshwaters

Natural resources in wetlands and rivers represent a vital life support system on which people, plants and animals all depend as well as billions of dollars in economic benefits.

We need to stop the loss of our most precious resource. We need to find new and long-lasting solutions and strategies if people and nature are to benefit from these natural resources in the next century. Further degradation is not an option. There are alternatives at our disposal for meeting needs for energy, food, water and transport and to preserve the future of our rivers, wetlands and lakes from unsustainable practices.

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3.a - Managing integrated water resources

Appreciation for rivers' natural riches instead of just their short-term economic potential.
Crucial to other practical measures will be building awareness among diverse communities - including decision-makers - of the range of natural functions and values of wetlands and river basins.

3.b - Saveguarging the world's wetlands

Instead of drainage for land development, protection, restoration of wetlands and improved management and use will allow them to provide rich goods and services including water supply. The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar, 1971) is a vital instrument for wetlands conservation worldwide.

Find out more on conservation and sustainable use of wetlands.

3.c - Developing sutainable agriculture

Practices and technologies that work with ecological processes are proving beneficial in drier parts of the world, including many that suffer from food shortages. Growing crops without ploughing the soil, harvesting rainwater, better crop selection, and fisheries management can result in large increases in food produced, without the need for wasteful, large-scale irrigation schemes.

Find out more on sustainable agriculture.

3.d - Promoting alternatives to dams

Instead of large dams, we could promote natural and bio-gas, solar and wind energy and decentralised power grids that are proving to be better for the environment and more beneficial to rural communities. As the cost of these technologies comes down, they are proving competitive with conventional energy sources.

Find out more on renewable energies and natural gas.

Instead of dykes and dams, natural flood damage reduction methods include floodplain restoration, watershed management and flood warning and evacuation systems. These all allow the rivers to continue to provide natural benefits; they are also generally much less expensive than dams and dykes.

Find out more on natural flood damage reduction.