Topic: Water Scarcity – Developing Long- and Short-term Mechanisms to Prevent and React on Water Shortage Crises
The upcoming changes in the world’s climate will cause significant changes in patterns of water cycle and geographical distribution. There will be regions which will receive comparatively less rainfall than others and this will have a significant effect on water supply. The terms of the equation remain simple: given the present circumstances, will it be possible to provide enough water to a population forecast to be at least 9 billion by 2050 (according to the medium hypothesis proposed by the United Nations) using a volume of water which will be roughly the same as it is now?
In the context of stress and scarcity, the challenge will be to find creative ways to manage water resources without amplifying already existing disputes and conflicts. This is raising important questions:
- How to prevent the rising water scarcity?
In terms of water shortage, the efficiency of the use and supply of water will be one of the main tasks to help regions which suffer more and more from drought. Especially the water usage of agriculture in countries affected by climate change has to be reduced to achieve a fair and economic water distribution. This has to lead to a change of the way and of the types of crops people will growing.
In the most areas facing a future water shortage the technological and educational basis will not countervail against the massive challenges coming up. At this point it is common sense, that the endangered regions need a supportive plan, how to educate the people to help them facing rising droughts. Just as they need a better technological transfer with advanced economies.
- Which mechanisms are needed to react on urgent water crises?
Besides the preventions on water scarcity it is necessary to create mechanisms which allow to respond to acute water deficiency. The Rapid deployment teams of UNEP formed up and deployed by the regional offices helped with numerous environmental disasters could be more prepared and supported with droughts.
Within the upcoming water crises there will be also an enormous increase of climate migration if the drought areas cannot be reconnected to water supply. The community of states must prepare themselves for these situations to avoid potential conflicts.