Every body of water, from rivers to ponds, has a watershed. That is the area of land that sheds water, or drains, into a specific receiving water body, typically another lake or river. Watershed management refers to the process of implementing land use and water practices that protect the quality of the water and natural resources within a watershed. Know these important benefits of watershed management, and you’ll realize just how necessary this practice is to the health of the environment and of the Earth’s human population.
Watershed pollution can come from natural or manmade sources. Runoff from rainwater or snowmelt is the primary natural contributor of this pollution. The runoff picks up pollutants and brings them into the receiving lake and river. Watershed management can work to identify what kinds of pollutants are present and track how they entered the watershed.
Human sources of pollution are many. Any activities that take place within a watershed will affect the natural resources within it. This can include new land development, gardening and lawn care, agricultural activities, and septic system use and maintenance. As the aging sewer system in American spills about 1.26 trillion gallons of untreated sewage every year, civil engineering management systems for watersheds help to mitigate that damage.
Promotes Partnerships Amongst Affected Parties
In any management systems for watersheds, all parties that are associated with that watershed need to be involved. This type of partnership is crucial to successfully manage the area’s natural resources. Without effective collaboration between affected parties, not everyone will be on the same page about the types of pollution they need to prevent and how they are going to do that. When an upstream municipality takes harmful actions, it will impact the downstream municipality’s land as much as their own.
Contributes To Economic Health
A healthy watershed means a healthier city. As a watershed encompasses the forests and wetlands surrounding it, maintaining its health can help reduce or prevent costly climate change and flooding impacts and manage drought. A healthy watershed can also give a financial boost to the industries of tourism, agriculture, forestry, and mining. When there is water infrastructure for dams included in a watershed, its good health can also ensure energy production and water supply for agriculture, industry purposes, and households.
When you properly manage a watershed, you’re guaranteeing the safety and health of every living thing in the area. While this process can be complicated, it is vital to ensuring an excellent quality of life for any population.