Preventing water crises
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Preventing water crises

India among the countries worst affected by global warming

Unprecedented droughts, heat waves claiming more than a hundred lives: the summer of 2019 has made it clear for the whole world that India is in big trouble. How will climate change shape the future of the country?

Research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) indicates that India’s future is bleak: part of the country may become unfit for human habitation by the end of the century.

“The future of heat waves is looking worse even with significant mitigation of climate change, and much worse without mitigation,” said Elfatih Eltahir, a professor of hydrology and climate at MIT.

That prediction is particularly ominous given that the current situation is already quite desperate:

The mean temperature of India increased by 1.7 degrees Celsius between 2000 and 2017. Last year, there were 484 official heat waves in the country, up from only 21 in 2010.
In June 2019, the absolute temperature record of the nation was almost broken when 50.6 °C was measured.

The MIT scientists studied two of the scenarios presented by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Under the more optimistic scenario, in which global warming is stopped at around 2.25 degrees Celsius, residents would have to face a number of negative impacts of climate change, but no part of the country would actually become unfit for human habitation. However, if the pessimistic scenario were to play out, the Chota Nagpur Plateau would no longer be suitable for sustaining human life, and large parts of South Asia would be near the limits of survivability.

This would impact the homes of
more than a billion people –
in South Asia alone.

Completely dry water reservoir in Karnataka Region, India Photo: Shutterstock
Further information: CNN

Major cities that could share the fate of Cape Town

Cape Town’s historic water crisis was a wake-up call for the entire world. Something that had previously been unimaginable happened. If the targets set in the Paris Agreement are not reached, there is reason to fear that many other major cities could suffer a similar fate within a few decades. The example of Cape Town is a timely warning that chronic water shortages are already just around the corner.

Innovative solution: The Water Retainer in Morocco

Only 1 percent of the World’s water is available fresh water and 70 percent of that is used by agriculture. Morocco is one of the countries facing the crises of less rain, drier topsoil and increasing population.

The last drops: seven bodies of water threatened by drying up

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What will become of you, Africa?

We have known for some time that a number of countries in Africa are particularly vulnerable to the effects of global warming on account of their positions alone. A recent study warns that the situation is even worse than we had previously thought.

Water scarcity leading to political conflict

Political tension caused by water shortages was also a feature of the history of the 20th century, and today, there is fighting in a number of zones where the lack of water was one of the initial causes of the conflict.

Hundreds of Australian towns face water crisis

Up to 180 thousand people may be left without drinking water due to the severe drought.

Water shortage threatens the Panama Canal

Extreme drought is putting one of the world’s most important trade routes at risk.

Extremely low water levels on the River Maros

The characteristic sand banks of the river have grown larger, some branches have dried out completely.

Millions left without water in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s capital city, Harare, shut down its main water works on 23 September citing shortages of foreign currency to import chemicals required for water treatment. The situation may not only lead to a severe water shortage for the population, but also increases the risks of diseases carried by contaminated water, such as cholera.

European farming could suffer 16 percent loss by 2050 due to climate change

A comprehensive report by the European Environment Agency claims that over the next 30 years, agricultural yields could drop by up to 16 percent in Europe due to the phenomena accompanying climate change.