CHINA LEADS IN WATERSHED PROTECTION INVESTMENT
China possessed the bulk of projects designed to protect natural watersheds, according to a recent report, State of Watershed Payments 2012, that stated that water insecurity is likely "the single biggest risk to the country's continued economic growth." Global investment to protect areas providing drinking water and supplies totaled over $8 billion on 205 projects in 2011, accounting for more than 12 percent of the $66 billion spent since 1973 and marking a "pleasant surprise against a backdrop of an economic downturn in many parts of the world," according to Genevieve Bennett, the report's lead author. Investment within Chinese borders accounted for 91 percent of global watershed spending in 2011, with officials providing cash and other incentives for maintaining water functions. For example, authorities are providing health insurance benefits to residents in poor communities upstream of Zhuhai in exchange for adopting better land management practices designed to improve drinking water. "China has obviously turned on the investment tap full blast and that was another pleasant surprise," said Bennett. "They see the investment as a way to smarter growth." For the full story, see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-20983929 and http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/watershed-protection-schemes-growing-china-takes-lead-report.