Water as a Source of Income

Water covers 70% of Earth’s surface. Yet only a tiny fraction of Earth’s water is the accessible freshwater we need to live, grow food, sustain the environment, and power our cities and jobs. Growing cities and populations and a changing climate are placing unprecedented pressures on water. According to the World Economic Forum, water crises are among the top risks to global economic growth. For at least 650 million people, even the water they are able to find is unsafe.

But this also offers an opportunity to provide safer water and better manage our water resources for a more resilient future.In Africa, an estimated 40 billion working hours are spent fetching water, usually by women (UN Development Programme). Better access to safer water frees up time, enhances health and offers the potential for new opportunities.

Most job creators rely heavily on water for their day to day business, if not as an actual ingredient in the products they sell.  Those jobs are dependent on a steady supply of clean water, and thus have a stake in better, more sustainable water resource management. Today, almost half of the word’s 1.5 billion workers are working in water related sectors and nearly all jobs depend on water and those that ensure its safe delivery.

Some products are highlighted that explains the interlinkages between water and economic development.

  • “Analysis, monitoring and evaluation, and special interventions are required to ensure that women benefit from the economic opportunities that water generates.”
  • “In the past five years, more than 50% of the world’s power utility and energy companies have experienced water-related business impacts. At least two-thirds indicate that water is a substantive risk to business operations. As the world’s population reaches 9 billion, competing demand for water from other sectors is expected to grow, potentially exacerbating the issue.
  • “The benefits from meeting the water supply and sanitation (WSS) targets combined equal over US$60 billion annually. The main contributor to benefits from universal coverage of WSS is the value of time savings from closer access and reduced queuing for sanitation and water supply facilities, which account for more than 70% of total benefits globally. ”
  • “Improved Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) access may influence nutrition outcomes by increasing the productivity of home gardens, leading to more nutritious food intake, and enabling more time and resources for caregiving by reducing time spent fetching water and caring for sick children and time and costs associated with seeking health treatment.

Climate Change and Ocean Acidification

Given that they cover 70% of the Earth’s surface and provide about 90% of the planet’s habitable space by volume the oceans tend to get short shrift when it comes to climate change. The leaked draft of the forthcoming coming new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change highlighted the atmospheric warming we’re likely to see, the rate of ice loss in the Arctic and the unprecedented (at least within the last 22,000 years) rate of increase of concentrations of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane. But when it came to the oceans, press reports only focused on how warming would cause sea levels to rise, severely inconveniencing those of us who live on land. Some of that ignorance is due to the out of sight, out of mind nature of the underwater world place human beings have only seen about 5% of. But it has more to do with the relative paucity of data on how climate change might impact the ocean. It’s not that scientists don’t think it matters the reaction of the oceans to increased levels of CO2 will have an enormous effect on how global warming impacts the rest of us it’s that there’s still a fair amount of uncertainty around the subject. But here’s one thing they do know: oceans are absorbing a large portion of the CO2 emitted into the atmosphere in fact; oceans are the largest single carbon sink in the world, dwarfing the absorbing abilities of the Amazon rain forest. But the more CO2 the oceans absorb, the more acidic they become on a relative scale, because some of the carbon reacts within the water to form carbonic acid. This is a slow-moving process it’s not as if the oceans are suddenly going to become made of hydrochloric acid. But as two new studies published yesterday in the journal Nature Climate Change shows, acidification will make the oceans much less hospitable to many forms of marine life and acidification may actually to serve to amplify overall warming. The first study, by the German researchers Astrid Wittmann and Hans-O. Portner, is a meta-analysis looking at the specific effects rising acid levels are likely to have on specific categories of ocean life: corals, echinoderms, molluscs, crustaceans and fishes.

Every category is projected to respond poorly to acidification, which isn’t that surprising pH, which describes the relative acidity of a material, is about as basic a function of the underlying chemistry of life as you can get. (Lower pH indicates more acidity.) Rapid changes and the ocean is acidifying rapidly, at least on a geological time scale will be difficult for many species to adapt to. Corals are likely to have the toughest time. The invertebrate species secretes calcium carbonate to make the rocky coastal reefs that form the basis of the most productive and beautiful ecosystems in the oceans. More acidic oceans will interfere with the ability of corals to form those reefs. Some coral have already shown the ability to adapt to lower pH levels, but combined with direct ocean warming which can lead to coral bleaching, killing off whole reefs many scientists believe that corals could become virtually extinct by the end of the century if we don’t reduce carbon emissions.

The Nature Climate Change study found that mollusks like oysters and squids will also struggle to adapt to acidification, though crustaceans like lobsters and crabs which build lighter exoskeletons seem likely to fare better. With fish it’s harder to know, though those species that live among coral reefs could be in trouble should the coral disappear. But ultimately, as the authors point out, “all considered groups are impacted negatively, albeit differently, even by moderate ocean acidification.” No one gets out untouched.

The other Nature Climate Change study by American, German and British researchers looked at the effects that ocean acidification could have on atmospheric warming. It turns out there may be some feedback the researchers found that as the pH of the oceans dropped, it would result in lower concentrations of the biogenic sulfur compound dimethylsulphide (DMS). Why does that matter? Marine emissions of DMS are the largest natural source of atmospheric sulfur. (Man made sources of sulfur include the burning of coal.) Sulfur, in the form of sulfur dioxide, isn’t a greenhouse gas. But higher levels of sulfur in the atmosphere can reduce the amount of solar energy reaching the Earth’s surface, causing a cooling effect. (In the aftermath of the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines in 1991, which threw millions of tons of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere, average global temperatures the two years fell by about 0.5 C.) If acidification decreases marine emissions of sulfur, it could cause an increase in the amount of solar energy reaching the Earth’s surface, speeding up warming which is exactly what the Nature Climate Change study predicts. It’s one more surprise that the oceans have in store for us.

Water and Dam

What was climate change to me? It was when it rained a lot and flooded someone house in nearby colony of Pathan’s near my sector. Every household was flooded with water, destroying everything. Let me give you more detail. This village was near a gala which was over flooded due to extensive rain. It was raining non-stop that day, lightning striking and windows shaking. It was really scary.

At that time, we as children pray that it do not rain ever again. But at that time we did not understand that rain is not the problem that flood any area or any community living in them. It is about how city plan is made, and if any more dams are build or not. From a young age, we are learning from our academic studies that to retain water we need to build dams. Dams are important because they provide water for domestic, industry and irrigation purposes. Dams often also provide hydroelectric power production and river navigation.

Due to lack of dams, annually 20 million acre feet of water go wasted in the country. The flow of river water is 145 million acre-feet and only 13 percent of it is stored while the growing population is facing a severe shortage of the natural resource.

If we are to store the water and fulfill the needs of our population, dams are required.

 

 

Climate Change and Water Resources

Water resources are important to both society and ecosystems. We depend on a reliable, clean supply of drinking water to sustain our health. We also need water for agriculture, energy production, navigation, recreation, and manufacturing. Many of these users put pressure on water resources, stresses that are likely to be exacerbated by climate change.

In many areas, climate change is likely to increase water demand while shrinking water supplies. This shifting balance would challenge water managers to simultaneously meet the needs of growing communities, sensitive ecosystems, farmers, ranchers, energy producers, and manufacturers.

In some areas, water shortages will be less of a problem than increases in runoff, flooding, or sea level rise. These effects can reduce the quality of water and can damage the infrastructure that we use to transport and deliver water.

The water cycle is a delicate balance of precipitation, evaporation, and all of the steps in between. Warmer temperatures increase the rate of evaporation of water into the atmosphere, in effect increasing the atmosphere’s capacity to “hold” water.Increased evaporation may dry out some areas and fall as excess precipitation on other areas.

Changes in the amount of rain falling during storms provide evidence that the water cycle is already changing. Over the past 50 years, the amount of rain falling during very heavy precipitation events has increased. Furthermore, rising temperatures cause snow to begin melting earlier in the year. This alters the timing of streamflow in rivers that have their sources in mountainous areas.

As temperatures rise, people and animals need more water to maintain their health and thrive. Many important economic activities, like producing energy at power plants, raising livestock, and growing food crops, also require water. The amount of water available for these activities may be reduced as Earth warms and if competition for water resources increases.

Many areas currently face water shortages. The amount of water available in these areas is already limited, and demand will continue to rise as population grows. Freshwater resources along the coasts face risks from sea level rise. As the sea rises, saltwater moves into freshwater areas. This may force water managers to seek other sources of fresh water, or increase the need for desalination (or removal of salt from the water) for some coastal freshwater aquifers used as drinking water supply.

The impacts of climate change on water availability and water quality will affect many sectors, including energy production, infrastructure, human health, agriculture, and ecosystems.