World Water Day (March 22nd) is a good time for Ghanaians to reflect on the risks of degradation to which the nation’s water bodies are exposed, as agriculture, industry, towns and cities all compete for their share and pollute water in the process. The theme for this year – “Nature for Water” – calls attention to an underappreciated solution for this growing threat. While the conventional response is to sink more money into “built” infrastructure (like dams, reservoirs and formal irrigation schemes), research in Ghana and other countries suggests that “natural” infrastructure (such as wetlands, floodplains and watersheds), when properly managed, can also help improve the availability of water, while sustaining the livelihoods of the many people who depend on these natural resources.

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