This article was originally published on Phys.org


“As floods and droughts ravage communities and countries worldwide, a WWF report published today highlights the capacity of healthy rivers to help mitigate these natural disasters but warns that all these ‘hidden’ benefits of rivers could be lost if they continue to be undervalued and overlooked.

The Valuing Rivers report, released on the opening day of World Water Week in Stockholm, outlines how the traditionally narrow view of  as primarily sources of water and power puts other critical benefits at risk, from freshwater fisheries to natural flood protection for cities and sediment flows that keep the world’s deltas above the rising seas.

While these directly benefit hundreds of millions of people, they are often overlooked and remain a low priority for decision makers – until they disappear and crises occur.

The report shows how this short-sighted approach that has proven costly across the globe and could result in even greater economic losses in the future. Already, 19 per cent of global GDP comes from watersheds with high or very high water risk, while most of the world’s great deltas – including the Ganges, Indus, Mekong, Nile and Yangtze – are sinking and shrinking.

“Collapsing fisheries and disappearing deltas are just two examples of the collateral damage caused by our failure to value rivers for all their diverse benefits – not just the water flowing down them,” said Stuart Orr, WWF Freshwater Practice Lead. “We need to urgently transform the way we value and manage our rivers, or we risk undermining economies and global efforts to achieve the .”…”

Read on at: Phys.org