More efficient water management can offer more equitable access to water, according to a study published in the journal One Earth.
Globally, water scarcity already affects between one and two billion people and according to projected climate change impacts, in a few decades, millions more (approximately half of the world’s population) will be living under conditions of high water stress.
In order to assess this impact, researchers at the University of Leeds examined recent and projected climate change impacts across the world’s drylands.
The authors concluded that more efficient water management, technology, infrastructure and better demand and supply management is key to creating a more equitable water supply.
The authors said they strongly support the integration of water concerns across borders and sectors, through approaches such as Integrated Water Resources Management.
Lead author of the study, professor Lindsay Stringer from the Department of Environment and Geography at the University of York said: ‘People in dryland areas are already adapting to climate changes, but they need to be supported with coherent system-oriented policies and institutions that put water security at their core.
‘To make sure no one gets left behind, more attention needs to be paid to how decisions about water management link to other things, like food, energy, livelihoods, migration and human health.
‘We need to ensure access to water and its quality is properly managed. That requires political will, capacity, resourcing and leadership to develop a truly integrated approach to delivering water-related decisions.
‘Stakeholder engagement is increasingly important, particularly in complex contexts where dryland rivers flow across multiple national borders, and approaches like IWRM are really vital in shaping more equitable water resource allocation.’
In related news, government advisors have recently warned that the UK is already struggling to keep up with climate change impacts.
In a comprehensive assessment led by the Climate change Committee (CCC), the report warns that the nation is already failing to keep pace with the impact of a warming planet.