Water and weather, the delicate balance between evaporation and precipitation, is the primary cycle through which climate change is felt. As our climate changes, droughts, floods, melting glaciers, sea-level rise and storms intensify or alter, often with severe consequences. Only 3% of the planet’s water is freshwater, and of this, two-thirds are captured in glaciers and polar ice. In the current climate predictions, safeguarding the water we have in the supplies we need for a global population set to reach 10 billion by 2050 will be a challenging task. The World Economic Forum ranked water crises as number one in its 2015 assessment of global risks, with potential to cause damaging economic and social impacts across entire countries and sectors. Living with climate change will mean coping with the impacts on water, whether too much or too little, and taking the necessary steps to reduce the vulnerabilities of communities and economies. Water resilience is about having a reliable water supply that can adapt and respond to change. The goal of the Water Resilience is to ensure that we have a sustainable and resilient water system, both now and for the future. Sani Water’s new blog series titled “Water Resiliency Series” will cover various elements of the water resiliency program starting from –1) basics/fundamentals of water resiliency and 2) importance of water resiliency post Covid-19. Sani Water has been at the forefront of providing their customers with the latest research topics in the drinking water industry that are applicable on a regular basis. With “Water Resiliency Series”, Sani Water aims to educate and inform their customers about the importance and significance of water resiliency especially in the current period where climate change and rising global scarcity of water is more prevalent than ever.
IMPORTANCE/NEED OF WATER RESILIENCY
The water industry faces heightened regulatory and consumer expectations from population growth, changing consumer behaviors, and acute and chronic environmental challenges. Resilience of water and wastewater services has always been a key focus in the industry, but the challenges, from current threats and to opportunities, are now compounded by the constraints imposed by safely navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. A staggering three billion people do not have access to water and soap at home, leaving them unable to wash their hands as a first line of defense against COVID-19. Good hygiene – which is only possible with reliable access to water and soap – is one of the most powerful interventions for combatting transmission.
As demonstrated in Figure 1, water serves many functions in the water bloodstream.
Figure 1. Water functions appear in many different positions in the water bloodstream. Source: Falkenmark et al. (2019).
MEANS OF ACHIEVING WATER RESILIENCY
Water can serve as a lever to achieve greater economic equity and access, environmental resilience, and technological innovation, among other benefits. Following are the key areas that regulators need to focus on to achieve water resiliency:
- Boosting Water Equity and Affordability
- Amplifying Water in Climate Discussions
- Breaking Down Governance Silos
- Investing in the Water Solutions of Today and Tomorrow
- Expanding Green Careers
- Falkenmark, M. (2020). Water resilience and human life support-global outlook for the next half century. International Journal of Water Resources Development, 36(2-3), 377-396.
- Falkenmark, M., Wang-Erlandsson, L., & Rockström, J. (2019). Understanding of water resilience in the Anthropocene. Journal of Hydrology X, 2, 100009.