Looming Water Crisis

Sometimes, I sit back and feel overwhelmed by the number of issues that we face in order to maintain the quality of life we all desire and the health of the planet on which we live and on which we depend.

The saying, “Water is destiny,” is really true.  If we examine why entire civilizations in history have vanished, availability of fresh water seems to always be a key factor.  Here’s a report about water; we’ll add comments and suggestions afterwards.

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U.N. weather agency says

world ill-prepared for

‘looming water crisis’

 

By Erin Cunningham

Washington Post

5 October, 2021

 

Most countries are ill-equipped to handle what the United Nations said Tuesday is a “looming” global water crisis caused by climate change and population growth.

Floods, droughts and other water-related disasters are on the rise due to global warming, the World Meteorological Organization said in a new report published Tuesday.

At the same time, swelling populations and dwindling resources around the globe have led to increased water scarcity in multiple regions, the U.N. agency said.

“But management, monitoring, forecasting and early warnings are fragmented and inadequate,” said the report, which included input from more than 20 global development agencies and scientific institutions.  WMO Secretary General Petteri Taalas said …

 

“We need to wake up to the looming water crisis.”

 

Currently, more than 2 billion people live in “water-stressed countries” where they lack access to safe drinking water and sanitation, according to the report “The State of Climate Services 2021: Water.”

The WMO also cited massive flooding this year in Japan, China, Pakistan and Europe as evidence of a growing number of water-related hazards.  Talaas said …

 

“It is not just in the developing world

that flooding has led to major disruption.

Catastrophic flooding in Europe led to hun-

dreds of deaths and widespread damage.”

 

Since 2000, flood-related disasters have grown 134 percent and caused the most damage and loss of life in countries in Asia, the report found. Drought-related disasters rose 29 percent over the same period, with the majority of fatalities occurring in Africa.

North Africa and Central Asia suffer the world’s highest levels of water stress, a condition defined as the ratio between freshwater withdrawals and available resources. Globally, a quarter of all cities are already water stressed and experience perennial water shortages, the report said.

Elsewhere, extreme weather events such as storms and landslides have caused untold economic losses.

The WMO and other agencies said that “urgent action” is needed to ramp up sustainable investment in drought and flood early warning systems, improve water management and integrate water and climate policies.  Talaas said …

 

“Time is not on our side.”

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While I hate “doom & gloom” articles, I also don’t want to ignore legitimate warning signs.  In addition, I also believe that positive change will not come from “global leaders gathering in summit conferences.”  They’ve had decades to do something.

I think positive change has to come from individuals who feel the problem and who are able to take positive action that will make their lives – and perhaps the lives of others – better.  For these blogs, I select problems that we, as individuals may be able to address.

In terms of water, it’s likely best to not live in a desert, unless you’re as prepared for that style of living as Bedouins have been.

The concept I prefer is “Net Zero.”  We like water to be available whenever we want it.  Nature provides water when it wishes.  To provide a buffer between our different schedules, we need storage.

So, we simply have to determine how much water we need each year; traditional measurements are available via Google.  Then we have to determine, from records, our longest local rainless periods.  If, for example, it’s rare to have no rain for more than 7 weeks, then we need to be able to store 7 weeks of water.  On a single home site, we can, for example, place a cistern in the ground that has a 7-week capacity.  Then we channel rainwater into that cistern.

If our city’s water system is working, fine.  But if a problem arises – in quantity or quality – referring to reports of arsenic or other toxins found in the water system of some cities – we can switch our intake to receive cistern water.  Or, you may wish to make your cistern water, properly filtered, your only source.

Long-proven commercially available technology exists.

Some geographic areas are, indeed, running out of water.  If you don’t wish to go off-grid – or if you live in a rental accommodation – you may need to relocate to communities that have a properly functioning system already in place.  And if you do elect to relocate, also select a site that will not likely be damaged by flooding.

As the report suggests, acting sooner is better.  And remember, the best “helping hand” is the one at the end of your own arm.

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