drinking water

The HELP (Hydrology for the Environment, Life and Policy) Experience in North America

inking water, and that almost 2.5 billion have no access to proper sanitation.” Many in the international water community stress the importance of integrated water-resources management (IWRM) to address these challenges. They argue that this is the most effective means of sustaining economic and social welfare while protecting the health of vital ecosystems. One reaction to this call for more effective management has been the Hydrology for the Environment, Life and Policy initiative, or HELP1. HELP has created a framework that enables water-law and policy experts, water-resources managers, and scientists to work together on water-related problems. HELP is a joint initiative of UNESCO and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Its primary goals are to: • establish a global network of HELP basins with operational links between research scientists and policymakers; • direct hydrological science toward integrated basin policy and management; • provide opportunities to learn lessons from other basins; and, • promote social and economic well-being of stakeholders via sustainable use of water as an ecological resource. With these goals, scientists, managers, policy experts, and other stakeholders within HELP watersheds address locally defined water-related issues, including water and climate; water and food; water quality and human health; water and environment; and water and conflict.

Future Trends and Research Needs in Managing Forests and Grasslands as Drinking Water Sources

The management of forest and grassland watersheds for drinking water supplies has been, and will continue to be, a major activity of the Forest Service and other natural resource agencies. However, these watersheds will continue to support other uses, including providing timber products, recreation, mining, fisheries, grazing, and the conservation of biodiversity. In addition, relatively new uses like using forests for carbon and nutrient sequestration (DeLucia and others 1999) or the recycling of wastewater (Cole and others 1986, Sopper and Kardos 1973) will increase. The future is also expected to bring increased competition for existing water resources (Postel 1998) and changes from point source to watershed-based pollution management (U.S. EPA 1997). How these watersheds will be managed in this increasingly competitive, watershed-based, multiuse environment will be affected by site-specific knowledge of environmental change, technological change, and social and administrative considerations.
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