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Water resources in a changing world


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by Jeremy Bird

Presented at the Elizabeth Moir School on 24th March 2015.

Published in: Education
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Water resources in a changing world

  1. 1. Water resources in a changing world Jeremy Bird International Water Management Institute 24 March 2015 Photo: John Hamish Appleby/IWMI
  2. 2. 5 Remote sensing and spatial analysts 22 Economists and agricultural economists 5 Ecologists/ Wetland specialists 8 Soil scientists 23 Social scientists 14 Irrigation and agricultural engineers 30 Specialists in ground/surface water 5 Water quality and health specialists Inter-disciplinary approach IWMI – Research for Development operating across Asia and Africa Photo: IWMI
  3. 3. Fresh water a finite resource All the Earth’s water as a single bubble, to scale. Freshwater is the smaller bubble. Water in lakes and rivers is the tiny bubble. Source: USGS
  4. 4. Globalization – water is traded across borders in food crops – Virtual water
  5. 5. 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 10 100 1000 10000 100000 GDP per capita (2000 constant dollars per year) meatconsumption (kg/cap/yr) Meat China 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 10 100 1000 10000 100000 GDP per capita (2000 constant dollars per year) milkconsumption (kg/cap/yr) Milk China India USA USA As economies grow, diets change, …more meat >>> more water Source: IWMI
  6. 6. Agriculture’s challenge….. To feed 9 billion people in 2050, we need to produce 50-70% more food… …and reverse environmental degradation …and reduce vulnerability to climate shocks
  7. 7. …and a reduction in species Living Planet Index. 2005. Population index = 100 in 1970
  8. 8. Safe Semi-critical Critical Over exploited Saline ‘Free’ electricity encouraged groundwater overuse Groundwater has supported crop expansion Source: IWMI
  9. 9. Source: IWMI Research showing signs of over-pumping and groundwater pollution in Jaffna
  10. 10. Solar power will reduce emissions from groundwater pumps – need to combine with efficient irrigation systems Courtesy Jain Irrigation Photos: Hamish John Appleby/IWMI
  11. 11. Industry can also be more efficient in reducing water use – e.g. Coca Cola • Reduced water use ratio. Since 2001 cut water use by more than a fifth. • Recycling water used in manufacturing processes and returning it to the environment • Replenishing water in communities and nature through the support of healthy watersheds
  12. 12. Hyderabad, India 2003-14 Population rapidly becoming more urban Source: IWMI
  13. 13. Water for a food-secure world Waste management in cities in developing countries cannot keep pace with urbanization Photo: Neil Palmer/IWMI
  14. 14. Techniques to use waste water safely…. Photo: IWMI
  15. 15. Turning waste into an organic fertilizer Source: IWMI
  16. 16. Climate change - floods and droughts are increasing in frequency
  17. 17. River flows are naturally highly variable – climate change makes it more extreme and uncertain Source: Mekong River Commission Mekong River Flow regime at Chiang Saen, 1993-2010
  18. 18. Bangkok floods 2011 Insurance loss: $12 billion
  19. 19. “Underground Taming of Floods for Irrigation (UTFI)” – store peak floods underground and use for irrigation in the dry season Source: Pavelic 2012
  20. 20. Food prices depend on many factors – water is becoming a more prominent influence
  21. 21. Food shortages as food prices rise, Mozambique Photo: ILRI 2008
  22. 22. Using geo-spatial data to improve our response to floods • Improve planning capacity • Target flood management measures • Provide basis for crop flood insurance • Improve flood relief efforts
  23. 23. Identifying climate change Vulnerability Hotspots – to design locally relevant adaptation measures Climate Change Vulnerability Index Anuradhapura Nuwara-Eliya RatnapuraSensitivity Index Exposure Index Adaptive Capacity Index Source: IWMI
  24. 24. Using Mobile Apps to provide flood and drought information Photo: IWMI
  25. 25. Breeding flood and drought tolerant crop varieties Swarna-Sub1 17 day submergence Photo: International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)
  26. 26. It’s a big challenge, but there are solutions…  More efficient water use  Sustainable management of surface and groundwater  Increasing resilience to climate shocks  Recycling waste and recovering nutrients  Reversing land and soil degradation  Balancing the built and natural environment
  27. 27. Water for a food-secure world Visit: Photo: Neil Palmer/IWMI