The Stream, December 18: 21 Percent of Population Could Face Chronic Water Scarcity With Warming of 2 Degrees Celsius

Climate Change
An increase in global temperatures by 2 degrees Celsius would likely result in chronic water scarcity—less than 1,000 cubic meters per person per year—for 21 percent of the global population, according to new climate models developed by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Climate Progress reported. An increase of just 1 degree Celsius would create chronic water scarcity for 13 percent of the population and absolute water scarcity—less than 500 cubic meters per person per year—for 6 percent of the population.

A newly released study of the Lower Rio Grande River Basin predicts that climate change will reduce water supplies by more than 86,000 acre-feet each year by 2060, leaving a total annual supply shortfall in the basin of 678,522 acre-feet, Science Daily reported. The shortfall is expected to create problems for irrigators in the basin, and the study suggested looking at desalinated brackish groundwater as an alternative to surface water supplies.

Natural Disasters
Floods in eastern Europe were the costliest natural disaster for insurance companies this year, creating $US 4 billion in insured losses and approximately $US 18 billion in total damages, Reuters reported. Disasters like Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines caused a much greater loss of life, but many of the disaster victims were not insured.

Water treatment plants owned by the Manila Water Company will now be able to withstand 7.2-magniuted earthquakes after receiving $US 2.5 million in upgrades, Bloomberg News reported. The company provides water to much of the Philippines capital.

European researchers have found evidence that uranium can move more easily through the environment than previously thought, creating concern about the wetland filtration systems used at uranium mines, the Guardian reported. In certain cases, the researchers found that uranium particles could move into groundwater, which adds “complexity” to the filtration process.

The Stream is a daily digest spotting global water trends. To get more water news, follow Circle of Blue on Twitter and sign up for our newsletter.

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