Climate change is going to affect the availability and quality of water needed for basic human needs even as the usage of water has increased six fold over the last century and it is rising by about one per cent annually, the United Nations said.
In the World Water Development Report, the UN said that climate change will aggravate the situation in countries that is already experiencing water stress. It also warned that poor water management is likely to exacerbate impacts of climate change on water resources as well as on the society as a whole.
In the report, the UN said that 2.2 billion people at present have no access to safely managed drinking water. About 4.2 billion have no safely managed sanitation. Meanwhile, UNESCO Director-Gencral Audrey Azoulay said that water does not need to be a problem- it can be part of the solution.”
International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) President and Chair of UN-Water Gilbert F. Houngbo said that there w solutions for managing water crisis in a more coordinated manner. Everyone has a role to play, Houngho added.
The report says that climate change can affect water quality. The increase in water temperatures the decrease of dissolved oxygen in water impacts the self purification capacity of water bodies. This will lead to increased risk of water pollution. It says that ecosystems, especially forests and wetlands are also under threat. The report notes that agriculture, industries and energy production will be affected.
The World Water Development Report says that climate change impact on water bodies and will be strongly felt in the tropics. This region constitutes most of the developing countries. It warns that some small islands could be wiped off the globe. Mountain glaciers and snowcaps would see a decrease.
The report has highlighted two strategies – adaptation and mitigation — to overcome the crisis. In adaption, the report suggests combination of natural, technological and technical options along with social and institutional measures to mitigate the damage. Through mitigation, the report suggests reducing greenhouse gases (GHG) emission. The United Nations has also called for improving wastewater management system and prioritizing water.
UNESCO published the report which is the UN’s flagship report on water and sanitation issues.