October 24, 2021

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The World Is Ill-Equipped To Face The Looming Water Crisis: WMO

The world is woefully underprepared to deal with the floods, droughts, and hurricanes that are expected to increase in frequency and worsen in intensity due to climate change, according to the United Nations Weather Agency.

In a new report, the World Meteorological Organization has said that most countries in the world are ill-equipped to handle the “looming” water crisis and that the world’s water resource management is “inadequate and fragmented”.

The report found that nearly 60 percent of the 101 countries surveyed needed improved weather forecasting systems to prevent the worst impacts from severe weather.

Since the year 2000, there has been a 134 percent increase in flood-related disasters across the world, according to the report. Most fatalities and economic losses from these disasters were in Asia, as extreme rainfall continues to occur with increasing frequency in countries such as India, Nepal, China, and Indonesia.

At the same time, the report noted that rising populations and decreasing natural resources around the world have led to an increasing scarcity of water. Over five billion people are expected to have inadequate access to water by the year 2050, compared to 3.6 billion people in 2018.

The report also found that over 25 percent of all cities globally experience water shortages regularly. In the last 20 years, the planet’s supplies from all sources, such as groundwater, surface water, snow, and ice have declined by an estimated one centimetre per year.

Over 107 countries have failed to meet their targets to sustainably manage water sources by the year 2030, despite significant progress in recent years, the report found.

The agency called for “urgent action” to drastically ramp up sustainable investment in early warning systems for droughts and floods and improve water management and integrate climate policies with water management policies.

“We need to wake up to the looming water crisis,” urged Petteri Taalas, secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization, during the COP26 climate summit in Italy.

Cover Image: Shutterstock

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