March 13, 2009

Clean river systems save money

Conservationists say protecting the world's watersheds means billions in savings to places such as Jakarta in Indonesia.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources said a compilation of case studies, published ahead of next week's World Water Forum in Istanbul, Turkey, shows protected watersheds can save communities billions in costly infrastructure to store water, clean it or bring it from elsewhere.

Many of the world's big cities have understood that protecting their catchment areas makes economic sense, Mark Smith, head of IUCN's Water Program, said Friday in a statement.

The report said Jakarta gets its freshwater for free from some 60 rivers originating in Gunung Gede Pangrango National Park. The researchers estimate the value of that water at $1.5 billion.