Sourced from Clean Technica
More than 600 million people lack clean drinking water. Drought affects more than 35 million every year. And by 2050, 1.3 billion people will live in flood-prone areas. Most people think that building dams, water treatment plants and other infrastructure is the only solution for these problems—but that’s only because they haven’t considered the many benefits of green infrastructure.
Green infrastructure like healthy forests, wetlands and coral reefs can cheaply and effectively enhance the performance of traditional built, or “gray infrastructure.” For example, green roofs can capture rainwater, reducing flooding and stress on sewage systems; mangrove forests can complement sea walls by reducing storm surge. Yet, green-gray projects remain relatively niche mainly because of persistent myths about their feasibility.
A new report from World Bank and WRI shows how integrating green infrastructure into mainstream project planning and investment can help fill the world’s water infrastructure gap. Here, we dispel five myths holding green infrastructure back:
1) MYTH: Infrastructure is made of concrete and steel.
Natural systems such as forests, floodplains, soils and wetlands can contribute to clean, reliable water supply, protect against droughts and floods, and enhance agricultural productivity. Green and gray infrastructure can be used in tandem to enhance overall system performance and climate resilience, oftentimes at a lower cost.
Some governments have moved beyond thinking of infrastructure as only construction projects. Peru now has a law requiring water utilities to earmark a portion of their revenues for reinvestment in green infrastructure like reforestation and sustainable agriculture projects upstream of water treatment plans. California classifies watersheds as infrastructure components. China’s National Program on Sponge Cities aims to reduce stormwater flooding and reuse rainwater by covering 80 percent of urban areas in materials that can capture water, such as green roofs and permeable pavements.