Climate Change and Water Supply, a Volatile Future?
It has long been evidenced that climate change is the single greatest influence on global water supply and demand.
Because of unpredictable outcomes, climate change is powerful issue, that has the business world,
governments and consumers carefully considering the impact of climate change on their water supply.
The earth’s temperature has seen the quickest rise in 50 years, and, while the cause of this is still being
debated, the consequences of this significant temperature increase are becoming increasingly evident in the global
demand for water.
Depending on the location, the impact of warmer temperatures on water supply and resources will vary.
A noteable impact would be major change in precipitation patterns and intensity.
Some regions may experience storms, flooding and cyclones, while other
may experience water scarcity due to drought and heat waves.
Natural water storage capacity in glaciers and water supplies are predicted to decline rapidly.
This will temporarily increase the water supply for the short in certain parts of the world, like;
India, China, the western United States, Pakistan, the Andes and Bangladesh, over time, the amount
of water from these natural storage will diminish.
Water Quality Deterioration is also a major risk factor for eco-systems,
which will be compromised due to the lack of natural water storage capacity and natural water filtration.
The functioning and condition of existing water infrastructure is also affected
by water scarcity issues. Droughts, flooding and extreme changes in the hydrological cycle
make irrigation systems, hydroelectric plants, piping, sewerage, flood defenses and water management systems vulnerable.
Water Scarcity Issues already affect 1/3 of the worlds population. In addition,the majority of glacier fed regions that supply 1/6 of the worlds population
are located in developing countries with are economically “fragile”.
Large-scale societal change, including human migration due to insecure water supplies, will place enormous
pressure on the governments’ planning and financing capacity, as well as water utilities.
A warmer climate also drive the demand for water.
Planning for the impact of climate change on the water supplyin not easy.
Unpredictable weather patterns make it near impossible to rely onn historical data, while new technlogies and innovations are necessary for water effieciency, management and planning purpose.
There is an unprecedented need for high-quality data and deeper analysis intoo the impact of climate change on our water suply.
The water sector has had to deal with inconsistencies in hydrology for a long time, consequently developing a range of tools to cope with dramatic changes in the water cycle.
It is crucial that water utilities providers build on these well established techniques, as well as improved planning and setup
of scenarios so we can progressively tackle the impact and volatility on water supply and demand.
In Conclusion: Climate change increases water supply vulnerability, by making it impossible for the water sector to rely on historical data.
The main challenge for water utilities suppler is to reduce and mitigate the effect of resource, infrastructure and demand volatility. This can be
achieved by developing contingency planning, based on scenarios relying on
high quality statistics and analytics.
The water sector needs to implement smart, flexible systems to monitor, regulate and anticipate continued changes in climate and circumstance.
It is crucial therefore, for water utilities providers and policy makers to work together, to address this time-critical issue.
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