Water and achieving the Millenium Development Goals
Water is the primary medium through which climate change influences the Earth's ecosystems and people’s livelihoods and well-being. The poor, who are the most vulnerable, are also likely to be affected the most.
Already, water-related climate change impacts are being experienced in the form of more severe and more frequent droughts and floods. Higher average temperatures and changes in precipitation and temperature extremes are projected to affect the availability of water resources through changes in rainfall distribution, soil moisture, glacier and ice/snow melt, and river and groundwater flows; these factors are expected to lead to further deterioration of water quality as well.
Water resources and how they are managed impact almost all aspects of society and the economy, in particular health, food -production and security, domestic water supply and sanitation, energy, industry, and the functioning of ecosystems.
Under present climate variability, water stress is already high, particularly in many
developing countries, and climate change adds even more urgency for action.
Without improved water resources management, the progress towards poverty reduction targets, the Millennium Development Goals, and sustainable development in all its economic, social and environmental dimensions, will be
Adaptation to climate change is mainly about better water management. Recognising this and responding to presents development opportunities.
Appropriate adaptation measures build upon known land and water management practices to foster resilience to future climate change, thereby enhancing water security. Innovative technologies and integrated solutions are needed at the appropriate scales, for adaptation as well as mitigation.
There is evidence that the global climate is changing. A global temperature increase of 3-4°C could cause changed run-off patterns and glacial melt will force an additional 1.8 billion people to live in a water scarce environment by 2080.
Human Development Report, 2007/2008
Climate change is predicted to have a whole range of impacts on water resources. Variation in temperature and rainfall may affect water availability, increase the frequency and severity of floods and droughts, and disrupt ecosystems that maintain water quality.
Source: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
The cost of adapting to the impacts of a 2°C rise in global average temperature could range from US$70 to $100 billion per year between 2020 and 2050, according to the World Bank.
Key questions for research
How is your country affected?
How is climate change affecting water?
How will you country adapt?