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Financing source water protection in developing Asia

Conservation and land management funds can be self-financing

| China
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A man drives a boat along a river polluted by leaked fuel, in Shaoxing, Zhejiang Province, China   © Reuters

For China and India, it is air pollution that captures the headlines, but water pollution is an equally pressing issue, as it is for other rapidly industrializing countries across Asia. As these nations address their water quality issues, it will be important for their strategies to include conservation and land management activities that improve the health of source water catchments.

Such activities, known collectively as source water protection, not only improve water quality, and in some cases quantity, but also generate additional environmental and social benefits. Furthermore, these strategies can be implemented through financing vehicles such as water funds that require less direct government spending and can create new sustainable business opportunities.

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