Freshwater Resources and Climate Change
Climate change is an inherently interdisciplinary issue. It affects numerous aspects of the environment, including water.
Water shortages are nothing new. History is riddled with droughts in various areas of the world, particularly those that are usually dry. Droughts in recent times are rarer, at least in industrialized countries, as technology has enabled easy travel of fresh water to where it is needed. But they are by no means eliminated. For example, Australia has been struggling with water in recent years. The government has enacted strict regulations on water use: sprinklers, swimming pools, car washes, and window washing are all limited, sometimes very heavily, depending on how bad the water situation is in a given area.
Australia and the rest of the world has much more to fear if climate change continues unabated. Global warming has a demonstrably negative effect on freshwater resources. It directly affects water from glaciers and snowpack. Indirectly, global warming will result in an increased water demand from the agricultural sector, further eating away into already diminishing supplies. Increased precipitation and runoff will result in more pollutants in freshwater reserves. Rising salinity in seawater resulting from the climate change-induced sea level rise will restrict freshwater in coastal areas.
Climate change is poised to wreck immense havoc on our precious water resources and a myriad of other resources. We must act swiftly and effectively to save them.
Stay tuned for a discussion of how water can help mitigate climate change.
For the definitive ICCP report on the issue, look at http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/technical-papers/climate-change-water-en.pdf