From floods to droughts, every region of the world experienced water extremes Last year: UN

The World Meteorological Organization announced Tuesday in its first annual State of global water resources reports that every region of the world experienced water extremes last year as the climate crisis intensified floods and droughts, causing deadly damage in the hardest-hit areas.

“In 2021, all regions experienced significant hydrological extremes in the form of floods and droughts, with substantial impacts on communities, including numerous deaths,” notes the WMO, a United Nations agency, in its new report. “Record floods were seen in western Europe and the northern Amazon. At the same time, the Paraguay and Paraná rivers recorded all-time low water levels.”

Petteri Taalas, WMO Secretary-General, attributed last year’s global water extremes to the “impact of climate change,” which he noted is “often felt through water – more intense and frequent droughts, more extreme floods, more seasonal rainfall and accelerated melting of glaciers – with cascading effects on economies, ecosystems and all aspects of our daily lives”.

To mitigate the impact of water-related extreme weather events – which continued to wreak havoc on a massive scale in 2022 – the WMO urged countries to “accelerate the development of end-to-end drought and flood early warning systems to reduce the impact of hydrological extremes on people, lives and livelihoods, ecosystems and the wider economy in all parts of the world.”

The report also focused on the dangerous lack of access to fresh water, a growing emergency exacerbated by increasingly intense and frequent extreme weather.

The WMO estimates that 3.6 billion people around the globe do not have adequate access to clean water for at least one month each year, a number expected to exceed 5 billion by 2050 without urgent action by policy makers .

For the first time in the history of UN climate change conferences, water scarcity was on the agenda at the recently concluded COP27 summit in Egypt, as drought-stricken nations came together to work on solutions to the crisis. As Reuters reported earlier this month, Senegal and Spain formed an alliance “to help each other manage water scarcity by sharing technology and expertise.”

“By 2050, weather disturbances, including drought as well as strong winds and rain, could cost the global economy an estimated $5.6 trillion, a report published in August by environmental engineering consultancy GHD found.” Reuters noted.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *