Safe, clean drinking water is vital for human health, and to the continued existence of all life on planet earth. What most individuals are unaware of, however, is just how important the health of the trees on our planet is, and how trees connect to the continuous supply of safe, clean drinking water.
Healthy forests provide our planet with fresh drinking water, and fortunately many countries know this and practice good forest management, but when these same forests are destroyed or neglected, the quality of our drinking water supply is negatively affected.
Rainfall is absorbed by the forests, which then refill underground aquifers. The water is cleansed and cooled as it meanders its way through the forest and some species of trees actually break down common pollutants such as pesticides, metals and solvents that can be found in groundwater, urban soils, and runoff.
Watersheds, which are the high-lying areas that carry water runoff downhill into a body of water such as a river, lake or stream, serve as a key source of drinking water. Trees also hold storm-water runoff by absorbing excess water that would normally surge through gutters and pipes, in leaves and roots.
It is therefore imperative that we take care of our forests and do not destroy them with all our urban development and also ensure that we replant as soon as possible should any forests be destroyed through a natural disaster such as a fire or flood.
Some good examples of natural forest management that provides crystal-clear drinking water include:
- Californians rely on the San Bernardino National Forest and other California forests to supply their drinking water;
- Trees in the Trossachs National Park of Scotland protect the water supply to nearby Loch Katrine, which provides Glasgow its water supply.
- The South Platte watershed, which rises high in the Pike National Forest in Colorado supplies residents of Denver with their drinking water;
Trees provide us with shade, clean air, shelter, and fresh drinking water, so we all need to take a bit more care of how we treat nature and look after our trees, even in our own gardens.