Water and climate change: what do we mean?

What do we mean when we say: ‘We cannot afford to wait. Climate policy makers must put water at the heart of action plans’?

Climate delay is almost as dangerous as climate denial. Every country in the world must work more quickly.

Extreme weather events are making water more scarce, more unpredictable, more polluted or all three.

Humans need water to survive, as do all the systems we rely on: sanitation, healthcare, education, business and industry.

Action plans to tackle climate change need to be integrated across different sectors and coordinated across borders. And they must have one thing in common: safe and sustainable water management.

Learn more in the UN-Water Policy Brief on Climate Change and Water.

What do we mean when we say: ‘Water can help fight climate change. There are sustainable, affordable and scalable water and sanitation solutions’?

Fighting climate change will open up vast opportunities for the economy in many areas. We need to embrace circular production systems and use water much more efficiently.

As the global population grows, so does the demand for water, which depletes natural resources and damages the environment in many places. Solutions include protecting carbon sinks such as oceans and wetlands, adopting climate-smart agricultural techniques, and increasing the safe reuse of wastewater.

Water is our most precious resource – we must use it more responsibly. We must balance all of society’s water needs while ensuring the poorest people don’t get left behind.

Learn more in the World Water Day Toolkit.

What do we mean when we say: ‘Everyone has a role to play. It is surprising how many water actions anyone, anywhere can take to address climate change.’?

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said: “Warnings are necessary. But fear will not get the job done.”

Yes, climate change can feel scary and daunting. But there is one simple step you can take immediately that will make a big difference: don’t waste water.

Thousands of people are logging their climate actions on the United Nation’s ActNow website. Check out all the easy lifestyle changes that will help save the planet.

What is being done?

Investing in water is investing in resilience

Investing in water is investing in resilience

Nature is resilient but only if and when we give it a chance. Creating resilience to climate change can be done through supporting the vital ecosystem services we rely on from nature, such as restoring forests to improve air quality, re-planting mangroves to buffer against severe storms and store carbon, and leaving watersheds intact for safe and clean water supply.

Read more here.

COVID-19 and adequate sanitation

COVID-19 and adequate sanitation

Many infectious diseases are easily transmitted when people have inadequate accesses to toilets, when faeces are insufficiently treated and disposed and when personal and domestic hygiene are lacking. 

United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation explain why handwashing and adequate sanitation should go hand in hand in the global efforts against COVID19.



Water for handwashing in slums is critical to prevent COVID-19 spreading

Water for handwashing in slums is critical to prevent COVID-19 spreading

Regular handwashing with soap and running water can be difficult to put into practice due to lack of water in slums. Water points, when available, are only in certain locations and are even harder to access when there are restrictions on movement to prevent or contain an outbreak of COVID-19.

There is a high risk that the impacts of COVID-19 on the urban poor living in slums will be considerably higher compared to other areas as maintaining social distancing is extremely difficult in overcrowded areas.

Learn more.

A green wall to catch fresh water in Indonesia

A green wall to catch fresh water in Indonesia

In Gedepahala, West Java, Indonesia, water springs in the region have disappeared as forest cover in the upper streams has been lost. Since 2008, Conservation International has led a collaborative, community-based land management initiative to create a “green wall” of more than 100,000 newly-planted trees to restore the landscape and help recharge groundwater.

Read the full story here.

Special focus on water and climate

Special focus on water and climate

To mark World Water Day, the Stockholm International Water Institute has created a special focus area on their website to explore the issues around water and climate change – the World Water Day theme for 2020. Content will include articles on the five things you need to know about water and climate; future proofing finance; and the importance of handwashing and how it is threatened by climate change.

Learn more here.

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