Fresh Water Conservation

Water and Sanitation – Sanitation is Vital to Human Health

Episode 3: Wetlands and clean water
What are wetlands and how useful they are

  • are areas covered in water permanently or for long periods.
  • can be natural or man made
  • can be salt or fresh water areas
  • perform important functions useful for the environmental and us all.
  • support a variety of plants and animals
  • are the most rich and fruitful areas
  • are the primary sources of water.
Guyana has many large wetland areas including the many ponds, swamps, seasonally flooded forests, lakes and conservancies.
Remember? We live in the “Land of Many Waters”.

The Values of Wetlands in water purification and storage
The specific values of wetlands related to water supply and purification are:
  • Receive surface runoff during rainy periods
  • Remove and holds nutrients: for example excess nitrogen and phosphorus are retained by wetlands.
  • Store and recycle organic wastes: waste materials from garbage dumped in wetlands are broken up and retained by wetlands
  • Reduce suspended sediments or particles: water is sometimes full of sediments, wetlands trap theses allowing the water to be free of sediments or clear
  • Maintain stream flow during dry periods
  • Store water, especially during periods of high rainfall
  • Replenish the water in the earth during very dry periods.

Did you know...

...that the purifying and storage of water by wetlands is limited?

Yes, it is!

The excessive amounts of waste, nutrients and sediments cannot always be removed or stored by wetlands. Eventually, in these situations many wetlands are destroyed and thus the many values identified are also hampered.

You may wonder, why the focus on wetlands, especially since the theme is “Water and Sanitation”?

Well just think of it this way – wetlands practice sanitation naturally by purifying the water we use, all we need to do is practice sanitation also.
© Jerrel Pinas
Bigipan Wetland in Suriname, South America.
© Jerrel Pinas