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The Future of Water Calls for More Innovative Community Solutions

Glacier Ice

“As glaciers melt, local people in one community are coming up with innovative ways to find drinking water—fog catching.” 

The World Bank reports that a world 7.2 degrees warmer in Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) by the end of the century will be potentially devastating, causing sea levels to rise, higher intensity tropical cyclones, increasing risks for food production, and many more shocks and chronic stresses that will impact the health and livelihoods of the most vulnerable populations.

Climate change is also affecting water resources worldwide—1.6 billion people live in countries and regions with absolute water scarcity. The recently launched Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 5th Assessment Report asserts with high confidence that for each degree of warming, it’s projected to result in a decrease of renewable water resources by at least 20 percent for an additional 7 percent of the population.

In a video documentary, prepared by Rockhopper TV for the BBC and supported by The Rockefeller Foundation, a group of scientists grimly recount the reality of what they discovered 18,700 feet (5700 meters) high in the Andes.

Glaciers hold 70 percent of the world’s fresh water supply. A 7.2 degree Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) rise in global temperature will cause nearly all of the world’s glaciers to melt. Since 1970, 30 percent of Peru’s glaciers have disappeared. 40 million people in South America who are dependent on the Andes for water are at risk of losing their supply.

However, as glaciers melt, local people in one community in Peru are coming up with innovative ways to find drinking water—fog catching.

“Fog hits this mesh and is converted into water. It falls into this channel and then the water travels through a pipe to the reservoir,” said a community leader, who describes that almost 53 gallons (200 liters) of water are trapped a day. By diversifying their water sources, being adaptive, and resourceful in understanding the environment of the community, which is shrouded in fog for almost half a year, they are demonstrating their ability to be resilient in the face of climate change.

For more innovative solutions that are helping communities, states and greater regions become more resilient to future disasters, here’s a look at how rapidly growing Asian cities are preparing.

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