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Water and Natural Resources Management

by Portal Web Editor last modified Jan 10, 2013 11:48 AM


aerial view of Kariba Dam
Sixty per cent of the world’s 227 largest rivers are moderately to greatly fragmented by dams, diversions and canals, often adversely impacting surrounding ecosystems. Photo by Flickr/Rhys Jones

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The Challenge

Water is a vital resource not just for humans, but for a variety of aquatic ecosystems, including wetlands, watersheds, riparian zones, estuaries, and coastal areas. These critical habitats, in turn, supply surrounding communities with a variety of valuable ecosystems goods and services, such as sustaining biodiversity, moderating floods and droughts, filtering water-borne contaminants, and forming the foundation of coastal and aquatic food chains. However, misuse and abuse of the water resources on which these ecosystems depend is hastening their degradation, threatening human settlements as well as nature.


USAID’s Response

USAID’s natural resource management efforts focus on recognizing and sustaining aquatic ecosystem services as the foundation for further sustainable development. The agency explores opportunities to protect, restore and rehabilitate aquatic systems, and chooses interventions based on sound science and meaningful analysis of costs and benefits.

USAID’s work on water-related natural resources management includes:

  • Watershed Protection and River Basin Management
  • Coastal Zone Management
  • Freshwater Ecosystems Management

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