Thousands of years of history tell us drought is nothing new. Sometimes we prevail. Often we do not .
A bleak-look in-to the future tells us we have seen nothing yet, with a mixture of shifting climates, poor water management practices, and growing population densities promising a ‘pandemic‘ of catastrophic droughts awaits.
&The UN’s Special Report on Drought 2021 details the risks we face in coming years as a results of reduced rainfall in key spots round the world, exploring the drivers behind drought & therefore the type of measures we all take some necessary action to deal with water shortage.
The fact global-warming is redistributing our water is already a grim reality many round the world are forced to grapple with .
“With human-induced global climate change , drought frequency & severity have already increased in some – often already water-scarce – regions of the world ,” the authors write in report.
“As the earth moves seemingly inexorably towards global average temperatures 2°C warmer than pre-industrial levels, drought impacts are intensifying and are predicted to worsen in many regions, particularly within business-as-usual scenarios.”
At least 1.5 billion people round the world are suffering from drought over the past 20 years , costing economies quite $124 billion.
As the authors find out , there’s usually a gap between reported losses & actual impacts, meaning figures like these should be taken as conservative at the best . To not mention the very fact estimates don’t even take under consideration the economies of developing nations.
Somewhat ironically, it’s developing nations & remote regions that first come to mind once we thought about severe drought.
Yet nearly a fifth of the world’s population live-life in a region potentially in danger of water scarcity. By end of century, we expect most countries to be touched by drought in how .
Reports predicting the extent of accelerating risks of water shortages during a future ravaged by a climate crisis became commonplace. Omens of drought barely qualify as news lately .
But given we all know all this – given we all know how devastating drought are often , and so many of us face problem in near future of dry spells– why aren’t we better at managing it?
In an effort to find a solution , the UN report assembled variety of case studies detailing ‘lived experiences’ of drought to spotlight who within the community are going to be most affected from frequent periods of water stress.
Empowering those involved in agriculture is a clear 1st step . But anybody with a requirement for a healthy aquatic environment, whether operating in tourism, transport, hydroelectricity, or fishing, features a stake in efficient water management.
Based on experiences gathered in these cases, it’s clear that the politics on water aren’t such a problem with poor awareness, but a problem with bad-memory.
“Current risk management and governance mechanisms & approaches addressing drought are being overwhelmed by the increasingly systemic nature of drought risk,” the report states.
“The case studies describe action in policy development, review and restructure when droughts are severe, and inaction when droughts are not any longer evident.”
Nobody wants to believe subsequent drought when the rains come, so it’s hardly surprising that the majority political approaches are reactive, as against proactive.
The UN secretary general’s special representative for disaster risk reduction, Mami Mizutori, is quick to match future water shortages with a worldwide disaster we do not got to imagine.
“Drought is on the verge of becoming subsequent pandemic and there’s no vaccine to cure it,” quotes The Guardian’s Fiona Harvey.
Mizutori’s analogy with COVID-19 should resonate. Social inequality, lack of preparation, and difficulty adapting to novel risks have only compounded what’s effectively a challenge we’ve faced frequently within the past.
But even as a healthy immune system benefits from a LTM (long term memory) of past illness, our global community can’t afford to forget the communities that faded from history for want of reliable access to clean water .
The reports were originally published on GAR Special Report On Drought 2021.