This blog covers:
- How climate change is affecting water availability and quality.
- How this harms our social-economic-environmental stability.
- Some stats from issafrica.org and Climate Action Tracker.
- What you can do.
World Water Day is on March 22, and it is important to acknowledge the significant impact climate change has on the availability and quality of our water. Due to climate change, we are experiencing more frequent and intense droughts, floods and storms, which are affecting our water systems and intensifying water scarcity.
South Africa is a country that suffers from a shortage of water due to inadequate and unpredictable rainfall. However, this challenge is not unique to South Africa alone. It is a global issue that affects billions of people and impedes economic growth. As identified by the United Nations, water scarcity is one of humanity’s most significant challenges in the 21st century. Climate change is exacerbating this issue as we are experiencing a change in weather patterns, rising temperatures, and alterations in the hydrological cycle, which reduces the amount of water available and increases the risk of floods.
“Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans.” – Jacques Yves Cousteau
Weather-related disasters in South Africa 1980-2020
The temperatures on the CAT thermometer are ‘median’ warming estimates in 2100. This means that there is a 50% chance that the calculated temperature would be exceeded if the given emissions pathway is followed.
Climate change is not only reducing the availability of water, it’s affecting its quality. Algal blooms are occurring more frequently due to rising temperatures which can contaminate drinking water sources and reduces oxygen. More frequent storms and floods can also wash pollutants into waterways, making them unsafe for humans and damaging our ecosystems.
The intersection of water and climate change is not just an environmental issue; it also has significant economic and social implications. Water scarcity and poor water quality can limit economic growth and exacerbate social inequalities. Around the world, women and girls are responsible for collecting water for their homes, and the time and energy required to do this heavily limits their opportunities for education and employment.
It is of vital importance that we take a comprehensive and integrated approach to water management that considers the impact of climate change in order to address these challenges. This includes investing in infrastructure to improve water storage and distribution, promoting sustainable water practices, and protecting and restoring ecosystems that provide critical water services.
As individuals, we need to take steps to reduce our water footprint and mitigate the impact of climate change on water resources; this includes reducing the use of single-use plastics, using water-efficient appliances and fixtures and supporting policies and practices that promote sustainable water management.
H2O | BWT promotes Bottle Free Zones, an initiative that aims to eliminate single-use bottles and therefore lessen plastic waste. The Bottle Free Zone vision is simple, sustainable and eco-friendly. It can be executed at home, work, restaurants, hotels, and outdoors. We want to Change The World Sip by Sip, and that starts with all of us; we need to do better to help not only our planet but everyone living on it. Join us on this important mission and start taking action so that future generations have access to clean and reliable water sources.