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 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 and other disease outbreaks. Investing in water and sanitation infrastructure provides the means to safe drinking water to prevent water-borne diseases. 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. Access to a safe water supply and sanitation facilities builds climate resilience so communities can recover from natural disasters and adapt more quickly to climate change. Water and sanitation investment also promotes good health, a pillar for economic growth.
Improving Food Security
Food security is the access and availability of food at an affordable price. 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. Water resource management 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 efficient water availability for crops and farming.
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 infrastructure can attract more 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 the impact of 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. Water resource management is normally the responsibility of each country, but may require transnational cooperation with neighboring countries 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 will be less affected by droughts, floods and natural disasters, which builds climate resilience. Countries with well-developed water resource management policies have more affordable water and provide more 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.