Climate change is increasingly depleting the water resources of the world – in many places, drinking water shortages are already a serious problem. The shocking images below tell a story about Earth’s largest bodies of water that we can no longer ignore.
The surface area of the Hawaiian Lake Waiau began to shrink fast in 2010. The water loss may have been caused by global warming, or the melting of a permafrost layer under the lake, which may have caused extra seepage.
Fifty years ago, this lake lying between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan had been the fourth largest lake in the world, but by 2004, it lost 90% of its water.
The water level of the Dead Sea, bordered by Israel and Jordan, has been dropping so that over the last decade, the lake separated into two lakes, and the southern part is gradually drying up.
In 1960, Lake Chad in Africa had a surface area of 25 thousand square kilometres, but due to global warming and increasingly intense irrigation along the Chari and the Logone rivers, it dropped to 8 thousand square kilometres by 2008.
The Great Lakes are also at risk: sadly, since 1999, the quantity of their water dropped by 2.5 million gallons. The destruction of the ecosystem is primarily attributable to water transport in the area.
The Indus River has been exploited heavily for centuries, and it is at a particularly high risk due to global warming, as the river receives its water from continuously receding Himalayan glaciers.
The Rio Grande is one of the longest rivers in the world, but sadly its watershed has been much reduced recently. Due to diversion of the water on both banks, the riverbed has dried to such an extent that in times it is filled with sand bars and it doesn’t even reach the Gulf of Mexico.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Up to 180 thousand people may be left without drinking water due to the severe drought.
Extreme drought is putting one of the world’s most important trade routes at risk.
The characteristic sand banks of the river have grown larger, some branches have dried out completely.
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.
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.
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.