The water yield of the River Nile is becoming increasingly erratic as a result of climate change, which may have very grave consequences for Egypt.
To this day, the country of 98 million people is highly dependent on the river: 95 percent of the population lives along its banks, and 90 percent of the country’s water is also supplied by the Nile.
In recent years, however, the river’s water yield has undergone a number of changes due to global warming and human activities. Although in the region of the source of the Nile there is actually more rain than before, the distribution has become more irregular, and the torrential rains wash out fertile soil and block up the water channels of dams. In the near future, it is expected that there will be fewer years with near average water yields, while extremes (floods and droughts) will come to dominate.
Yet the country’s water demand exceeds what the river is able to supply year after year: reserves are running out, and the annual water deficit is as much as 20 billion cubic metres.
In Cairo, the water supply already fails regularly. In some districts, the taps are only turned on for three hours a day during the warmest months, but even then, a significant portion of the water is wasted due to the poor quality of the water network.
This year’s was the third hottest summer in Germany since the beginning of regular meteorological records in 1881, according to preliminary data from the Federal Meteorological Service.
In 2011, Laguna de Aculeo, one of the country’s favourite bathing resorts, still covered 12 square kilometres, and the lake was 6 metres deep – but since then, it has completely dried out.
The problem of the water shortages caused by global warming is much more complex than we have thought. In some parts of Africa, people not only need to face thirst but also the fact that the regions impacted by drought emit a quantity of carbon dioxide equivalent to the emissions of two hundred million cars each year.
According to a new report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that focuses on the interaction between climate change, desertification and food security, if present land use habits are maintained, the planet’s capacity to produce food will drop drastically.
The EU is contributing a further 50 million euro to alleviate drought damage in a number of Eastern and Central African countries. According to estimates, more than 4 million children and about 3 million pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers are undernourished in the region.
According to a report from the World Resources Institute, 17 countries are facing extremely high water stress, from India through Israel to Botswana. Many of the countries in question – which, collectively, are home to a quarter of the world’s population – are in the Middle East and North Africa.
Drought in the South African country that largely relies on hydroelectric power is causing not only shortages of drinking water but also power outages of up to 16 hours a day in the capital.
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?
Climate change is increasingly making itself felt in Europe, too: flash floods, heat waves, droughts and forest fires are on the rise on the continent.
Water shortages represent one of the most severe consequences of global warming, impacting growing numbers of people. In 2018, the Cape Town water crisis made global news. This year so far, the situation is the worst in India: millions are struggling to get water day after day.