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Water crisis around the world and climate change


Water crisis around the world and climate change

World Water Day was observed on March 22nd, 2020 to raise awareness on the importance of freshwater and advocate for its sustainable management. There was recognition of the importance of water in hand-washing and private hygiene practices, an action that's as important as social distancing and nationwide lockdowns in breaking the circuit of coronavirus transmission. The theme for 2020 was “Water and Climate Change”.
Water and Climate Change:
The theme reflects the will of policymakers to deal with the impact of global climate change on the water sector.
 Climate change and water are inextricably linked. Water is that the primary medium through which global climate change impacts trickle right down to the community and individual levels, primarily through reduced predictability of water availability. Growing populations and their water demand increase the necessity for energy-intensive water pumping, transportation, and treatment. It contributes to the degradation of critical water-dependent carbon sinks like peatlands. Due to global climate change, water cycles experience significant change, which reflects in water availability and quality. A warmer climate causes more water to evaporate from both land and oceans; successively, a warmer atmosphere can hold more water (roughly 4% more water for each 1ºF rise in temperature).
Concerns:
Extreme weather events thanks to global climate change are expected to steer to negative consequences within the water sector, with increased precipitation and run-off (flooding) in certain areas and less precipitation and a longer and more severe scarcity of water (droughts) in other areas.
Wet areas are expected to become wetter and dry areas drier.
This influences most aspects of the economy including beverage, sanitation, health, food production, energy generation, industrial manufacturing, and environmental sustainability and ultimately the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In coastal areas, when more freshwater is faraway from rivers and aquifers, saltwater will move farther upstream into the river mouth and therefore the aquifer, which can put pressure on the limited freshwater available on the coast, forcing water managers to hunt costly alternatives like desalination plants.
Way forward:
India has come up with global climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies and appropriate policy measures.
The government is implementing the ‘National Action Plan on Climate Change’ through eight National Missions, including the Water Mission.
However, effective policies need the support of the local governments, corporates, and NGOs.
Water resources planning must tend due to consideration while handling climate impacts.
As tanks and ponds can store and recharge the surplus rainwater to the aquifer, their rejuvenation (desilting) facilitates flood and drought management.
India must revisit its rich tradition and culture of water wisdom in water resources management.
There is a requirement for more public awareness on the necessity for climate-resilient actions, including protecting carbon sinks like oceans, wetlands, peatlands, and mangroves.
Adopting climate-smart agricultural techniques, rainwater harvesting, waste-water reuse, and judicious use of water should be generated and inculcated in each citizen.
Conclusion:
Water may be a common pool natural resources that sustain ecosystems, biodiversity, food security, economies, and society; hence, its judicious use with balancing multiple water needs is critical.
In developing countries, an outsized population depends on climate-sensitive sectors like agriculture, fisheries, and forestry for its livelihoods.
India cannot afford to let climate change-induced hydrological challenges overtake.

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