17 January 2013 Last updated at 07:20 ET
By Mark Kinver Environment reporter, BBC News
A growing population and increased economic activity places finite water supplies under pressure
China is the leading nation in terms of global investment in protecting natural watersheds, an assessment has found.
The report’s authors said water insecurity was probably “the single biggest risk to the country’s continued economic growth”.
Globally, US$8.17bn (£5.07bn) was spent in 2011 on projects to protect areas that provided drinking water and supplies, the assessment reported.
The review was produced by US-based NGO Forest Trends’ Ecosystems Marketplace.
“Healthy watershed systems do a range of services for us for free so we usually take it for granted,” explained Genevieve Bennett, Forest Trends research analyst and the report’s lead author.
“But the reality is that we depend upon it – there is no substitute for clean water supplies and there is not enough money in the world to replace all of these functions with technology.” ….(more).
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