Water is a resource that all living things need to survive and grow, but it is not evenly distributed worldwide. The low-income countries and communities have less surface water, less groundwater, and more people living on less land. This leaves developing countries vulnerable to water crises, leading to social instability and violence.
According to a recent study, water-related risks and impacts will continue to rise with global temperatures. To address this issue, we must invest in water and sanitation infrastructure in developing countries to improve climate resilience.
Climate resilience is the ability of human society to adapt to and cope with environmental changes. The basis of a good water-resilience strategy is reliable data and information that can be used by decision-makers, planners, and policymakers to design their current and future water management systems.
Investing in water and sanitation infrastructure makes countries more resilient to drought, heavy rainfall, flooding, and rising sea levels. Here is how investing in water and sanitation improves climate resilience.
Climate change puts health at risk and may alter the distribution and dynamics of disease vectors and infectious agents. Droughts and floods may produce water scarcity, resulting in malnutrition and diarrheal diseases. More frequent heat waves and extreme temperatures can increase morbidity and mortality.
Floods and landslides cause loss of life and property and may also contaminate water supplies, causing cholera outbreaks. Investing in water and sanitation infrastructure eliminates water-borne diseases by providing safe drinking water. This can be done by constructing and rehabilitating water supply and sanitation facilities, including deep-well boreholes and rainwater harvesting systems.
These investments reduce the pollution of surface water, an important source of drinking water in low-income countries where many people do not have access to a piped connection from the main supply. The water supply and sanitation facilities ensure climate resilience since they help communities to recover from natural disasters and adapt more quickly to climate change. Another benefit of investing in water and sanitation is that it promotes good health, a pillar for economic growth.
Improving Food Security
Food security is the availability of food at an affordable price, allowing people to make healthy food choices. Enhanced agricultural production is essential for reducing poverty and improving nutrition and health. However, agricultural productivity is not the only factor contributing to food security. The management of water resources is essential, too.
Agriculture and livestock farming account for a significant share of water use worldwide, and irrigated agriculture takes up groundwater. Sustainable agriculture works to ensure water availability for cropping and ensure that water is used efficiently.
Reduced soil erosion, better integration of water and land use addressing climate change through agricultural practices, and improving access to safe drinking water can all contribute to food security.
Sustainable agriculture practices can reduce the risk of water stress, which may be exacerbated in the future by climate change, and increase the resilience of communities to the effects of climate change.
Promoting Economic Development
Investing in water and sanitation infrastructure promotes economic development. A country with a well-developed water sector is more likely to be able to attract investment and reduce poverty. Investing in water and sanitation infrastructure produces a reliable water supply, encouraging investors to build factories.
The resulting industries create jobs that increase a country’s GDP, improve exports and help achieve more remarkable economic development. Impact investing can help countries in the developing world invest in water and sanitation infrastructure to achieve a sustainable development path.
Impact investing is an investment strategy that involves making voluntary financial contributions to organizations that positively impact society, such as micro-credit programs, education, healthcare, and environmental stewardship.
These projects contribute to climate resilience and economic development since they bring access to safe water and sanitation, lower pollution, reduce natural disasters and lead to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Impact investing is an alternative investment strategy that aims to generate both financial returns and positive social and environmental impact.
Enhancing Water Resource Management
Climate change will likely decrease water availability and increase water demand, putting pressure on water resources management. The management of water resources should fall within a state’s jurisdiction. However, when transboundary issues arise, cooperation with neighboring countries may be necessary to ensure everyone has access to safe drinking water.
Investments in water and sanitation infrastructure enable countries to develop an effective water resources management system. It is also essential that these countries have a strong bureaucracy because good water management needs a well-equipped technical administration.
Communities with an excellent water resource management system have climate resilience because they are less affected by droughts, floods, and other weather-related disasters. Countries with well-developed water resource management policies have more affordable water and more people with access to clean drinking water.
Earth is becoming increasingly water-scarce as climate change alters weather patterns and the distribution of freshwater resources. Delaying the construction and rehabilitation of water supply and sanitation facilities is costly to the global economy and to rural communities that cannot afford such investments.
Implementing community-based water and sanitation plan can lead to improved health and economic development. Investments in these projects have potential long-term benefits for developing countries, including their ability to adapt to climate change.
Climate resilience is a significant benefit of investing in these projects. However, the cost of these investments is often prohibitive for developing countries, so support from private investors and governments to facilitate community-based water and sanitation facilities is necessary.