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Climate Change and its effect on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

Madhav Narayan Shrestha1, Ph.D

Abstract: Climate change is global phenomenon and caused by the accumulation of greenhouse gases in
the lower atmosphere. The main sources of greenhouse gases are due to human activities. CO2 which is a
major gas causing greenhouse gas effects, has been increased by 38 percent in current level with 880 billion
tons in atmosphere now. It is estimated to reach to upper limit of 935 billion tons before final tipping point
to an unpredictable or undetermined climate state on 2020 at present loading rate of 4.4 billion tons per
year. The effect of climate change is seen as large change in precipitation, sea level rise, and shift climate
zones towards the poles and ecosystems decline. Climate change affects two dimensions of space and
temporal on availability of water, the sanitation and hygiene will automatically effected in multi
dimensional frame such as space, time, health, wealth and dignity etc. It needs to analysis the effects on
water systems consisting of agricultural water, sea water, surface and groundwater, for overall impact;
whereas effects on water quality, pollution and health due to climate change summarize total effect on
sanitation and hygiene.

Climate change is a global problem that requires a global solution. This paper has focused short term as 10
steps of individual efforts and long-term as sustainable planning and management, to adapt with and to
minimize global warming. The paper has discussed about water management relation matrix (WMRM) for
sustainable planning and management keeping water at centre in the matrix to cope with effects of climate
change. Adapting to increasing climate variability and change through better water management requires
policy shifts and significant investments. Climate change, its mitigation and adaptation may also create new
inequities, vulnerabilities and insecurities. It is time to conduct a vulnerability analysis of climate change
mitigation and adaptation. Relation between land use/land use change and climate change (including
vegetation change and anthropogenic activity such as irrigation and reservoir construction) should be
analysed more extensively; e.g., by coupled climate and land-use modeling.
(Keywords: climate change, global warming, global carbon dioxide cycle, Water Management Relation
Matrix and GHG)

I) An Introduction to Climate Change and Causes:

Climate change is a statistically significant change in measurements of either the mean

state or variability of the climate for a place or region over an extended period of time,
either directly or indirectly due to the impact of human activity on the composition of the
global atmosphere or due to natural variability. The terms global warming and climate
change are often used interchangeably, but the two phenomena are different. Global
warming is the rise in global temperatures due to an increase of heat-trapping carbon
emissions in the atmosphere. Climate change, on the other hand, is a more general term
that refers to changes in many climatic factors (such as temperature and precipitation)
around the world. These changes are happening at different rates and in different ways.
Climate change is global phenomenon and it is caused by the accumulation of greenhouse
gases in the lower atmosphere. Global climate change is a change in the long-term
weather patterns that characterize the regions of the world. The term "weather" refers to
the short-term (daily) changes in temperature, wind, and/or precipitation of a region.
Weather is influenced by the sun. The sun heats the earth's atmosphere and its surface
causing air and water to move around the planet. Some of the sun's incoming long wave
radiation is reflected back to space by aerosols. Aerosols are very small particles of dust,
water vapor, and chemicals in Earth's atmosphere. In addition, some of the sun's energy
The author is an environmental water resource expert and holding ground experience of water, sanitation
and hygiene.

that has entered Earth's atmosphere is reflected into space by the planet's surface. The
reflectivity of Earth's surface is called albedo. Both of these reflective processes have a
cooling affect on the planet.

Greenhouse gases are gases in an atmosphere that absorb and emit radiation within the
thermal infrared range (Fig.1.) This process is the fundamental cause of the greenhouse
effect. The main greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere are water vapor, carbon
dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, CFCs and ozone. Greenhouse gases greatly affect the
temperature of the Earth; without them, Earth's surface would be on average about 33°C
(59°F) colder than at present. The greenhouse effect is a warming process that balances
Earth's cooling processes. During this process, sunlight passes through Earth's
atmosphere as short-wave radiation. Some of the radiation is absorbed by the planet's
surface. As Earth's surface is heated, it emits long wave radiation toward the atmosphere.
In the atmosphere, some of the long wave radiation is absorbed by greenhouse gases (in
Fig 2.). Each molecule of greenhouse gas becomes energized by the long wave radiation.
The energized molecules of gas then emit heat energy in all directions. By emitting heat
energy toward Earth, greenhouse gases increase Earth's temperature. While greenhouse
gases absorb long wave radiation that emit heat energy in all directions, greenhouse walls
physically trap heat inside of greenhouses and prevent it from escaping to the
atmosphere. In our solar system, the atmospheres of Venus, Mars and Titan also contain
gases that cause greenhouse effects. When these gases are ranked by their contribution to
the greenhouse effect, water vapor contributes 36–72%, carbon dioxide contributes 9–
26%, methane contributes 4–9% and ozone contributes 3–7%. It is not possible to state
that a certain gas causes an exact percentage of the greenhouse effect. This is because
some of the gases absorb and emit radiation at the same frequencies as others, so that the
total greenhouse effect is not simply the sum of the influence of each gas.

Fig.1 Radiation and emission pattern

Fig. 2 Diagram of Greenhouse Effect (source:

Human activities since the start of the industrial era around 1750 have increased the
levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The 2007 assessment report compiled by
the IPCC observed that "changes in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases and
aerosols, land cover and solar radiation alter the energy balance of the climate system",
and concluded that "increases in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations is very
likely to have caused most of the increases in global average temperatures since the mid-
20th century". The main sources of greenhouse gases due to human activity are:
• Burning of fossil fuels and deforestation leading to higher carbon dioxide
concentrations. Land use change (mainly deforestation) account for up to one
third of total anthropogenic CO2 emissions.
• Livestock enteric fermentation and manure management, paddy rice farming, land
use and wetland changes, and covered vented landfill emissions leading to higher
methane atmospheric concentrations. Many of the newer style fully vented septic
systems that enhance and target the fermentation process also are sources of
atmospheric methane.
• Use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in refrigeration systems, and with halons in
fire suppression systems and manufacturing processes.
• Agricultural activities, including the use of fertilizers that lead to higher nitrous
oxide (N2O) concentrations.

II) Global Carbon dioxide (CO2) Cycle:

It was recognized in the early 20th century that the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere
caused the Earth's overall temperature to be higher than it would be without them. Aside
from purely human-produced synthetic halocarbons, most greenhouse gases have sources
from both the ecosystem in general (natural) and human activities specifically
(anthropogenic). During the pre-industrial Holocene (Holocene is a geological epoch

which began approximately 11700 years ago) concentrations of existing gases were
roughly constant. In the industrial era, human activities have added greenhouse gases to
the atmosphere, mainly through the burning of fossil fuels and clearing of forests. As
shown in Table 1. CO2 has increased by 38 percent in current level. Radiative force of
carbon dioxide is 1.46 W/m2, which is comparatively very high among other gases. So
carbon dioxide is a major gas causing greenhouse gas (GHG) effects.

Table1. Comparison of Gas caused by anthropogenic activities

Gas Preindustrial Current Increase
Level level since 1750
Carbon dioxide 280 ppm 387 ppm 104 ppm
Methane 700 ppb 1745 ppb 1045 ppb
Nitrous oxide 270 ppb 314 ppb 44 ppb
CFC-12 0 533 ppt 533 ppt

There are seven sources of CO2 from fossil fuel combustion (with percentage
contributions for 2000–2004) as Solid fuels (e.g., coal): 35%, Liquid fuels (e.g., gasoline,
fuel oil): 36% , Gaseous fuels (e.g., natural gas): 20% , Flaring gas industrially and at
wells: <1% , Cement production: 3% , Non-fuel hydrocarbons: < 1% , and the
"international bunkers" of shipping and air transport not included in national inventories:
4% .

Now we knew that CO2, a major gas causing greenhouse gas effects. We have 880 billion
tons of CO2 in atmosphere now. At current rate of carbon emission of 4.4 billion tons per
year will reach 935 billion tons by 2020 (Fig.3.), which is the upper limit before final
tipping point to an unpredictable or undetermined climate state. It is estimated that 5.5
tons per person per year is produced by US and Australian citizen, whereas 3 tons per
person per year is produced by European citizens. Asian citizens are producing
comparably lesser, at the range of 0.5 to 1ton per person per year. Accounting for both
direct and indirect annual CO2 produced from consumption no matter where products
were produced: U.S. accounts for 50% of annual anthropogenic CO2 and Europe 35%.
The 3 billion people who live in poverty around the world will be hardest hit by climate
change. The poor are more dependent on natural resources and have less of an ability to
adapt to a changing climate. Diseases, declining crop yields and natural disasters are just
a few of the impacts of climate change that could devastate the world’s most vulnerable
communities. The world’s least developed countries contribute only 10 percent of annual
global carbon dioxide emissions.

III) Effects of Climate Change:

Projections of future climate change are derived from global climate model.
Climatologists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) review the
results of these experiments for global and regional assessments and they estimated that
global mean surface temperature will rise by 1.5° to 5.8° C by 2100. Large changes in
precipitation, both increases and decreases, are forecast, largely in the tropics. Climate

change is very likely to affect the frequency and intensity of weather events, such as
storms and floods, around the world.

440 220 660

billion billion billion
tons, tons, tons,
CO2 + CO2 = CO2

Last ice age Released from Oceans In 1700s

Burning of fossil fuels
till now added 200
billion tons of CO2

8.2 billion
billion tons,
tons, CO2
Add annually
tons, 4.4 935
CO2 billion billion
tons, tons,
About 45%
2008 2020
absorbed by seas
annually Net adding rate Upper limit before final tipping
annually to point to an unpredictable or
Annual CO2 cycle of Atmosphere atmosphere undetermined climate state reached
at 2020
Fig.3. Global CO2 Cycle

Climate change will also cause sea level rise due to the thermal expansion of the oceans
and the melting of the mountain glaciers. Global mean sea level is anticipated to rise by
15 to 95 centimeters by 2100. Sea level rise will increase vulnerability to coastal flooding
and storm surges. The faster the climate changes, the greater will be the risk of damage to
the environment. Climatic zones could shift toward the poles by 150 to 550 kilometers by
2100. Many ecosystems may decline or fragment and individual species may become

Global climate change has dramatically affected weather pattern, resulting in severe food
shortage in hilly region, affecting millions of people in rural areas. Poor crop yields,
water shortage and extreme temperature are pushing villages closer to the brink as
climate change grips Nepal. As study conducted by Oxfam Nepal in rural communities in
three ecological zones; far west, middle and far east districts, it has found that crop
production is roughly half that of previous years. The report further said that among
recent changes in weather patterns in Nepal are an increased extremities of temperature,
more intense rainfall and increased unpredictability in the weather system. Nepal is
extremely vulnerable to climate change, yet it has one of the lowest emissions in the
world-just 0.025 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions.

Has climate change already begun? Yes. Climate change is already beginning to
transform life on Earth. If we don’t act now, climate change will permanently alter the
lands and waters we all depend upon for survival. Some of the most dangerous
consequences of climate change as impacts are impacts on higher temperatures, changing
landscapes, wildlife at risk, rising seas, increased risk of drought, fire and floods, stronger
storms and increased storm damage, more heat-related illness and disease, and economic
losses. The climate system must adjust to changing greenhouse gas concentrations in
order to keep the global energy budget balanced. This means that the climate is changing
and will continue to change as long as greenhouse gas levels keep rising. Records
indicate an increase of 0.6 ± 0.2oC in global average temperature since the late 19th
century. Most of the warming occurred from 1910 to 1940 and from 1976 to the present.
In Northern Hemisphere, it is likely that the rate and duration of 20th century warming has
been greater than any other time during last 1000 years, and the 1990 is likely to have
been the warmest decade of the millennium and 1998 the warmest year. Snow cover has
declined by some of 10% since the late 1960s in the mid and high latitudes of the
Northern Hemisphere.

IV) Effects on Water and Sanitation

This paper is intended to elaborate more on effects of climate change in water and
sanitation. Sanitation provides hygiene and without hygiene sanitation can not stand
alone. Increasing the quantity of water, to enable more water to be used for personal and
domestic hygiene purposes, has greater health benefits than improving the quality of
water especially in rural areas. Access to good drinking water is paramount to the needs
of citizens of any community. Water is also the source of infection of many diseases
through contact or through drinking. The close relationship between water and sanitation
is significant. More than half of the hospital beds in developing countries are occupied by
patients suffering from some ailment connected to contaminated drinking water. As a
matter of fact, safe water and sanitation go hand in hand for improvement of community

Improving sanitation facilities may be more important to improved child health than
improved water supplies in rural context. But we can not imagine sanitation without
water. Health-associated benefits from water depend on sanitation improvements. In case
of rural areas of Nepal, changing hygiene behavior is the key to reducing the incidence of
water-associated diseases, but knowledge is limited about the conditions under which
behavioral change will occur. There is a wide gap between knowledge of improved
hygiene behavior and the putting of this into practice. Health impact studies, taken as a
whole, provide firm evidence of the link between water, sanitation, hygiene behavior and
health. The relationship between water and sanitation is not so simple. Over the last
hundred years, sanitation has largely developed using water to evacuate excreta.
Centralized large-scale efforts to install water-borne sewerage have broad tremendous
progress and reduced illness of people and pollution of waterways. The World Health
Organisation has declared that waterborne sanitation meets none of its objectives in the
poorest areas – equity, disease prevention, and sustainability. It suggests that waterless
techniques can better meet the needs of both the rich and poor worlds. At the centre of

this issue, the World Water Council keeps elevating the debate beyond simplistic slogans,
seeking urgently to promote solutions at large scale and where possible in ways in which
fresh water and human waste don’t mix. If climate change effects is a two dimensions of
spatial and temporal on availability of water, the sanitation and hygiene will
automatically affected in multi dimensional frame of space, time, health, wealth and
dignity etc.

It needs to analysis the effects on water systems consisting agricultural water, sea water,
surface and groundwater, for overall impact; whereas effects on water quality, pollution
and health due to climate change summarize total effect on sanitation and hygiene.

a) Water Cycle(Hydrological Cycle):

Observed warming over several decades has been linked to changes in the large-scale
hydrological cycle such as: increasing atmospheric water vapour content; changing
precipitation patterns, reduced snow cover and widespread melting of ice; and
changes in soil moisture and runoff. Over the 20th century, precipitation has mostly
increased over land in high northern latitudes, while decreases have dominated from
10°S to 30°N since the 1970s. The frequency of heavy precipitation events has
increased over most areas. The area of land classified as very dry has precipitations
more than doubled since the 1970s. It is found significant decreases in water storage
in mountain glaciers and Northern Hemisphere snow cover. Shifts in the amplitude
and timing of runoff in glaciers and snowmelt-fed rivers have been observed. In
general, this acceleration or deceleration of the hydrological cycle will result in a
wetter world. By the middle of the 21st century, annual average river runoff and
water availability are projected to increase as a result of climate change at high
latitudes and in some wet tropical areas, and decrease over some dry regions at mid-
latitudes and in the dry tropics. Many climate models suggest that downpours will in
general become more intense. This would increase runoff and floods, and reducing
the ability of water to infiltrate the soil and may effect the regional distribution of
surface and groundwater supplies. In longer term this could also affect aquifers.
Different studies indicate that, on average, one per cent of the water storing capacity
of the globe's reservoirs is being lost annually because of a build up of mud and silt.
The current storage capacity of reservoirs world-wide is estimated 7,000 cubic
kilometers. Unless urgent action is taken, a fifth of this or some 1,500 cubic
kilometers will be gradually lost over the coming decades. Experts fear that the loss
could be even higher and faster if the scientific forecasts on climate change prove
sound and the rates of deforestation in the developing world are not checked.
Increased precipitation intensity and variability are projected to increase the risks of
flooding and drought in many areas.

b) Agricultural water:
Global agriculture will face many challenges over the coming decades. Degrading
soils and water resources will place enormous strains on achieving food security for
growing populations. A warming of more than 2.5oC could reduce global food
supplies and contribute to higher food prices. Soil moisture will be affected by
changing precipitation patterns which results of diminishing yield, unusual land

sliding, drying up of water sources. It will be a one of causes of more intense
migration resulting changes in the landscape/land use pattern affect the run-off and
quality of both surface water and groundwater. These changes in land use will add
stresses on water, sanitation and hygiene. Already, some 1.7 billion people-a third of
the world population-live in water stressed countries, a figure expected to rise to 5
billion by 2025.

c) Groundwater:
Groundwater hidden beneath our feet in aquifers is essential to life above ground. It
provides drinking water to more than 1.5 billion people, irrigates some of the world's
most productive cropland, and replenishes rivers and streams. Altogether, aquifers
store 97 percent of the planet's freshwater. Scientists tell us that once polluted,
aquifers are nearly impossible to purify. And attempts to dilute the contamination can
be extremely expensive. Fortunately, a large portion of groundwater still remains
pure--making it imperative to prevent the pollution in the first place. Pollution
contaminates not only water on and beneath the ground, but it also changes the
chemical composition of water in the atmosphere. Waste discharges from a wide
range of sources, including motor vehicles, homes, offices and industries, as well as
chemicals and animal wastes from agricultural production, create contaminated
runoff, some of which seeps into groundwater. It is estimated that at least 1.5 billion
people use groundwater as their sole source of drinking water (UNEP 1996).
Groundwater is also important for irrigation. For instance, more than 50 percent of
the water used in India for irrigation comes from groundwater resources. In
Kathmandu Valley, more than 50 % of demand of water supply is being fulfilled by
the groundwater. There are two major consequences of the increasing vulnerability of
world groundwater. One is “groundwater mining,” in which groundwater abstraction
exceeds the natural rate of replenishment. This can result in land subsidence,
saltwater intrusion, and groundwater supplies becoming economically and technically
unfeasible for use as a stable water supply (UNEP 1996). The second major
consequence is the degradation of water quality resulting from a variety of point and
non-point source pollutants, including agricultural runoff, sewage from urban centers,
and industrial effluents. It is estimated that 150–200 cubic kilometers more
groundwater is pumped each year than recharged in overexploited aquifers. As a
result groundwater tables are falling by up to several meters a year—with the risk of
collapse of agricultural systems based on groundwater irrigation in the north China
plain, the U.S. high plains, and some major aquifers in India and Mexico. As surface
water quality has worsened, many urban cities have increased their extraction of
groundwater to meet water demand. As a result, over extraction of groundwater has
become a serious problem in a number of cities.

d) Surface Water:
Increased precipitation intensity and variability are projected to increase the risks of
flooding and drought in many areas. Water supplies stored in glaciers and snow cover
are projected to decline in the course of the century, thus reducing water availability
during warm and dry periods in the major mountain ranges, where more than one-
sixth of the world’s population currently live. A cut of flow days was first observed in

1972 in Yellow river, in China. The observed cut of flow days in 1995 was 122 days
and found increased as 226 days in 1997. The northern half of China is drying out.
Demands on the three rivers that flow eastward into the North China Plain--the Hai,
the Yellow, and the Huai--are excessive, leading them to run dry during the dry
season. By the 2050s, the area of land subject to increasing water stress due to climate
change is projected to be more than double that with decreasing water stress.
Increased annual runoff in some areas is projected to lead to increased total water
supply. However, in many regions, this benefit is likely to be counterbalanced by the
negative effects of increased precipitation variability and seasonal runoff shifts in
water supply, water quality and flood risks.

e) Sea water:
Rising sea levels could adversely affect the health and well-being of coastal
inhabitants. Sixteen of the world's largest cities with populations of more than 10
million are located in coastal zones, and coastal populations are increasing rapidly
worldwide. The most immediate threat from such a rise would be to those who live
directly on the coast, in low-lying areas such as river deltas, or on small island nations
such as the Maldives, the Marshall Islands, Kiribati, and Tonga, where land is
virtually all within a few meters of sea level already. Rising seas would inundate
many of these islands, increase storm damage to the remaining land, and contaminate
the freshwater supplies found in island aquifers. Delta regions such as the Ganges-
Bramhaputra delta in Bangladesh, the Nile delta in Egypt, the Niger delta in Nigeria
could also suffer a similar fate. The situation in Bangladesh's densely settled Ganges-
Bramhaputra delta is probably the most serious. A recent study projects that a 1-meter
sea rise could inundate 17 percent of Bangladesh's total land area and displace some
11 million people (at current population densities). In the Nile delta, a 1-meter rise
would displace around 6 million people unless costly protection efforts were
mounted; and in the Niger delta, a similar rise would inundate 15,000 square
kilometers of land and force about one half million people to relocate.

f) Water Quality:
Changes in runoff, groundwater flows, a precipitation directly over lakes and streams
would affect nutrients and dissolved oxygen, and therefore the quality of the water.
This could reduce the water availability for drinking and washing. It will also lower
the efficiency of local sewer systems, leading to higher concentrations of bacteria and
other microorganisms in raw water supplies. Water scarcity may force people to use
poorer quality sources of fresh water, such as rivers, which are often contaminated.
All of these factors could result in an increased incidence of diseases due to
unhygienic conditions. Water quality may also response to changes in the amount and
timing of precipitation. Settlements that are already water deficient can be expected
to face still higher demands for water as the climate warms. Non availability of as
demand water leads to prone unhygienic conditions. Flooding is likely to become
more frequent with climate change and deteriorates the water quality affecting health
through the spread of disease. In vulnerable regions, the concentration of risks with
both food and water insecurity can make the impact of even minor weather extremes
(floods, droughts) severe for the households affected. Higher water temperatures and

changes in extremes are projected to affect water quality and exacerbate many forms
of water pollution. In addition, sea-level rise is projected to extend areas of
salinisation of groundwater and estuaries, resulting in a decrease of freshwater
availability for humans and ecosystems in coastal areas.

g) Water supply and sanitation:

Changes in water quantity and quality due to climate change are expected to affect
food availability, stability, access and utilisation. Global withdrawals of water to
satisfy demands have grown dramatically in this century. Between 1900 and 1995,
water withdrawals increased by over six times, more than double the rate of
population growth. This rapid growth in water demand is due to the increasing
reliance on irrigation to achieve food security, the growth of industrial uses, and the
increasing use per capita for domestic purposes. Many experts, governments, and
international organizations around the world are predicting that water availability will
be one of the major challenges facing human society in the 21st century and that the
lack of water will be one of the key factors limiting development and might be the
cause of war known as "Water War".

Globally, 1.1 billion people are without access to improved water supply and 2.4
billion are without access to improved sanitation. Nepal stands forward in case of
access to improves water supply among under developing countries. In Nepal, total
population using improved drinking water source in 2006 is 89 % (UNICEF, 2007) in
which urban is 94% and rural 88%. The total population using improved sanitation
facilities in 2006 is only 27% in which urban population use 45% and rural use 24 %.
Globally,coverage for improved water supply and sanitation has increased over the
past ten years for all but urban water supply, where percentage coverage has
decreased. An enormous number of people have gained access to improved facilities
over that time: about 816 million people have gained access to improved water supply
and 747 million people have gained access to improved sanitation. Despite this
enormous increase in the absolute numbers of people with access to improved
facilities, the apparent change in coverage the increase in the numbers of people
served was just sufficient to keep pace with population growth.

h) Health and Hygiene:

Water contributes much to health. Good health is the essence of development.
However water’s protective role is unseen and taken for granted in the wealthier
countries. More attention is paid to its role in disease transmission than health
protection. Water contributes to health directly within households through food and
nutrition, and indirectly as a means of maintaining a healthy and diverse environment.
These two precious resources; water and health, together could enhance prospects for
development. Long before the advent of modern medical care, industrialized
countries decreased their levels of water-related disease through good water
management. Yet, even in these countries, outbreaks of water-borne disease continue
to occur. In developing countries, preventable water-related disease blights the lives
of the poor. Diseases resulting from bad hygiene rank among the leading causes of ill-
health. Health provides an effective gateway for development and poverty alleviation.

Improving water management is a powerful tool that can be used by individuals,
communities and households to protect their own health.

3.4 million People, mostly children, die annually from water-related diseases. Most of
these illnesses and deaths can be prevented through simple, inexpensive measures.
For instance, trachoma remains the leading cause of preventable blindness,
accounting for 146 million acute cases around the world. But the disease is almost
unheard of in places where basic water supply, sanitation and hygiene prevail. 3
million people die every year from diarrhoeal diseases caused by contaminated water.
Polluted water affects the health of 1.2 billion people every year, and contributes to
the death of 15 million children under five every year. Vector-borne diseases, such as
malaria, kill another 1.5 to 2.7 million people per year, with inadequate water
management a key cause of such diseases. Expending on water-related disease costs
US$125 billion/yr, but would “only” cost US$7-50 billion/yr. to resolve.

However, in developing and under developing countries, sewage treatment is still not
the norm, with 90 percent being discharged directly into rivers, lakes, and coastal
areas without any treatment. New pollution problems from agricultural and industrial
sources have emerged in both industrialized and developing countries, and have
become one of the biggest challenges facing water resources in many parts of the
world. Higher water temperatures and changes in extremes, including floods and
droughts, are projected to affect water quality and exacerbate many forms of water

V) Mitigation and Adaptive Measures:

Several gaps in knowledge exist in terms of observations and research needs related
to climate change and water. Observational data and data access are prerequisites for
adaptive management. Focusing on the symptoms of global warming without
addressing its cause, is like treating the patient’s cold symptoms, but ignoring the
cancer that is killing her. The end result of today’s anthropogenic unsustainable
development is not coastal flooding and rising temperatures due to atmospheric CO2
loading, these are just symptoms. The end result will be extinction. The only “right”
development is sustainable development, everything else leads to extinctions by
changing and erasing environments that support life. Climate change is a global
problem that requires a global solution. Developing countries will need access to
climate-friendly technologies if they are to limit emissions from their growing
economies. Why not we start to think on it personally? Why not we plan to reduce the
production of CO2 by individual effort as short term? Let us start to set up immediate
actions and sustainable planning collectively.

A) Individual Effort; Easy 10 steps:

Now we knew that CO2, is a major gas causing greenhouse gas effects and production
of these greenhouse gases is caused global climate change. It is necessary to check
activities producing CO2 and sustainable developments have to be planned. To reduce
the demand for fossil fuels, which in turn reduces global warming, easy10 steps

simple actions that we can think and start immediately and will take us a long way
toward reducing energy use and monthly budget. Less energy use means less
dependence on the fossil fuels that create greenhouse gases and contribute to global
warming. These easy 10 steps are;

i. Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle: Do reduce waste by choosing reusable products

instead of disposables. Buying products with minimal packaging will help to reduce
waste and thinking of recycle. By recycling half of household waste, you can save
one ton of carbon dioxide annually.
ii. Use less Heat and Air Conditioning: Adding insulation to walls and attic, and
installing weather stripping or caulking around doors and windows can lower heating
costs more than 25 percent, by reducing the amount of energy need to heat and cool a
home. Turn down the heat while sleeping at night or away during the day, and keep
temperatures moderate at all times who are using air conditioning. Settng thermostat
just 2 degrees lower in winter and higher in summer could save about one ton of
carbon dioxide each year.
iii. Change a Light Bulb: Wherever practical, replace regular light bulbs with
compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs. Replacing just one 60-watt incandescent light
bulb with a CFL will save $30 over the life of the bulb. CFLs also last 10 times
longer than incandescent bulbs, use two-thirds less energy, and give off 70 percent
less heat. If every U.S. family replaced one regular light bulb with a CFL, it would
eliminate 41 billion kg of greenhouse gases, the same as taking 7.5 million cars off
the road.
iv. Drive Less and Drive Smart: The transport sector is a major and rapidly growing
source of greenhouse gas emissions. Carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles and
transport equipment are rising by as significant 2.5% per year. Developed world has
the highest per capita ownership of private cars today (484 car per 1000 people in
North America in 1996, compared to 32 in south America).Switching to less carbon-
intensive fuels can also reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Policy to reduce road traffic
congestion can save both emissions and costs. Less driving means fewer emissions.
Besides saving gasoline, walking and biking are great forms of exercise. When we do
drive, make sure the car is running efficiently. For example, keeping tires properly
inflated can improve gas mileage by more than 3 percent. Every liter of gas we save
not only helps our budget; it also keeps 2.4 kg of carbon dioxide out of the
v. Buy Energy-Efficient Products: When it's time to buy a new car, choose one that
offers good gas mileage. Home appliances now come in a range of energy-efficient
models. Avoid products that come with excess packaging, especially molded plastic
and other packaging that can't be recycled. If we reduce household garbage by 10
percent, we can save half ton of carbon dioxide annually.
vi. Use less Hot Water: Wrap water heater in an insulating blanket if it is more than
5 years old. Buy low-flow showerheads to save hot water and about 159 kg of carbon
dioxide yearly. Wash our clothes in warm or cold water to reduce use of hot water
and the energy required to produce it. That change alone can save at least 227kg of
carbon dioxide annually in most households.

vii. Use the "Off" Switch: Save electricity and reduce global warming by turning off
lights when we leave a room, and using only as much light as we need. And
remember to turn off television, video player, stereo and computer when we are not
using them. It's also a good idea to turn off the water when we are not using it. While
brushing our teeth, turn off the water until we actually need it for rinsing. It reduces
water bill and help to conserve a vital resource.
viii. Plant a Tree: If we have the means to plant a tree, start digging. During
photosynthesis, trees and other plants absorb carbon dioxide and give off oxygen.
They are an integral part of the natural atmospheric exchange cycle on Earth, but
there are too few of them to fully counter the increases in carbon dioxide caused by
automobile traffic, manufacturing and other human activities. A single tree will
absorb approximately one ton of carbon dioxide during its lifetime.
ix. Get energy audited from Utility Company: Many utility companies provide free
home energy audits to help consumers identify areas in their homes that may not be
energy efficient. In addition, many utility companies offer rebate programs to help
pay for the cost of energy-efficient upgrades.
x. Encourage Others to Conserve: Share information about recycling and energy
conservation with friends, neighbors and co-workers, and take opportunities to
encourage public officials to establish programs and policies that are good for the

B) Sustainable Planning and Management:

There is a need to understanding and modeling of climate changes related to the
hydrological cycle at scales relevant to decision making as this paper has focused more
on water and water related issues. Information about the water related impacts of climate
change is inadequate especially with respect to water quality, aquatic ecosystems and
groundwater. We have to make sustainable planning keeping water in centre on water
management relation matrix (WMRM) to cope with effects of climate change. Eight
important entities in the matrix are inter-related keeping WATER as a central pivot (Fig.
4) and they are activating inside the climate. Effects of climate change on entities are
quick reflected and quantification is inter- dependent. Climate change challenges the
traditional assumption that past hydrological experience provides a good guide to future
conditions. The consequences of climate change may alter the reliability of current water
management systems and water-related infrastructure.

Hydropowe Forest

Water WATER Waste


Water Land use

Resource Change

Fig.4 Water Management Relation Matrix inside climate

Current water management practices may not be robust enough to cope with the impacts
of climate change on water supply reliability, flood risk, hygiene and health, agriculture,
hydro energy and aquatic ecosystems. As a first step, improved incorporation of
information about current climate variability into water-related management would assist
adaptation to longer-term climate change impacts.

i. Water Supply: Adaptation options designed to ensure water supply and sanitation
require integrated demand-side as well as supply-side strategies. An expanded use
of economic incentives, including metering and pricing, to encourage water
conservation and development of water markets and implementation of virtual
water trade, holds considerable promise for water savings and the reallocation of
water to highly valued uses. Supply-side strategies generally involve increases in
storage capacity, abstraction from water courses, and water transfers.
ii. Water Resource: Water resources management clearly impacts on many other
policy areas, e.g., energy, health, food security and nature conservation. Thus, the
appraisal of adaptation and mitigation options needs to be conducted across
multiple water-dependent sectors. Low-income countries are likely to remain
vulnerable over the medium term, with fewer options than high income countries
for adapting to climate change. Therefore, adaptation strategies should be
designed in the context of development, environment and health policies.
Integrated water resources management provides an important framework to
achieve adaptation measures across socio-economic, environmental and
administrative systems. To be effective, integrated approaches must occur at the
appropriate scales.
iii. Land-use change: There are six possible broad land-use categories: forest land,
cropland, grassland, wetlands, settlements, and other. Changes in land use (e.g.,
conversion of cropland to grassland) may result in net changes in carbon stocks
and in different impacts on water resources. Wetland restoration, one of the main
mitigation practices in agriculture results in the improvement of water quality and
decreased flooding .Land management practices implemented for climate change
mitigation may also have different impacts on water resources. Many of the
practices advocated for soil carbon conservation such as reduced tillage, more
vegetative cover, greater use of perennial crops, prevent erosion, yielding possible
benefits for improved water and air quality (Cole et al., 1993).
iv. Agriculture: Improved management practices designed to increase agricultural
productivity could enable agricultural soils to absorb and hold more carbon.
Methane from wet rice cultivation can be reduced significantly through changes
in irrigation and fertilizer use. Possible effects due to agricultural land
management practice include enhanced contamination of groundwater with
nutrients or pesticides via leaching under reduced tillage (Cole et al., 1993;
Isensee and Sadeghi, 1996). These possible negative effects, however, have not
been widely confirmed or quantified, and the extent to which they may offset the
environmental benefits of carbon sequestration is uncertain. The group of
practices known as agriculture intensification (Lal et al., 1999; Bationo et al.,
2000; Resck et al., 2000; Swarup et al., 2000), including those that enhance
production and the input of plant-derived residues to soil (crop rotations, reduced

bare fallow, cover crops, high-yielding varieties, integrated pest management,
adequate fertilisation, organic amendments, irrigation, water-table management,
site-specific management, and others), has numerous ancillary benefits, the most
important of which is the increase and maintenance of food production.
Environmental benefits can include erosion control, water conservation, improved
water quality, and reduced siltation of reservoirs and waterways. Nutrient
management to achieve efficient use of fertilizers has positive impacts on water
quality. In addition, practices that reduce N2O emission often improve the
efficiency of nitrogen use from these and other sources (e.g., manures), thereby
also reducing GHG emissions from fertilizer manufacture and avoiding
deleterious effects on water and air quality from nitrogen pollutants (Oenema et
al., 2005; Olesen et al., 2006). Agro-forestry systems (plantation of trees in
cropland) can provide multiple benefits including energy to rural communities
with synergies between sustainable development and GHG mitigation. However,
agro-forestry may have negative impacts on water conservation.
v. Forestry: Forests, generally, are expected to use more water (the sum of
transpiration and evaporation of water intercepted by tree canopies) than crops,
grass, or natural short vegetation. Interception losses are greatest from forests that
have large leaf areas throughout the year. Thus, such losses tend to be greater for
evergreen forests than for deciduous forests (Hibbert, 1967; Schulze, 1982) and
may be expected to be larger for fast-growing forests with high rates of carbon
storage than for slow-growing forests. Although forests lower average flows, they
may reduce peak flows and increase flows during dry seasons because forested
lands tend to have better infiltration capacity and a high capacity to retain water.
Forests also play an important role in improving water quality. In the dry tropics,
forest plantations often use more water than short vegetation because trees can
access water at greater depth and evaporate more intercepted water. Extensive
afforestation or reforestation in the dry tropics can therefore have a serious impact
on supplies of groundwater and river flows. Afforestation and reforestation, like
forest protection, may also have beneficial hydrological effects. After
afforestation in wet areas, the amount of direct runoff initially decreases rapidly,
then gradually becomes constant, and base flow increases slowly as stand age
increases towards maturity (Fukushima, 1987), suggesting that reforestation and
afforestation help to reduce flooding and enhance water conservation. In water-
limited areas, afforestation, especially plantations of species with high water
demand, can cause a significant reduction in stream flow, affecting the inhabitants
of the basin (Le Maitre and Versfeld, 1997), and reducing water flow to other
ecosystems and rivers, thus affecting aquifers and recharge (Jackson et al., 2005).
Afforestation of previously eroded or otherwise degraded land may have a net
positive environmental impact. Forests will need better protection and
management if their carbon dioxide emissions are to be reduced. Carbon stored in
trees, vegetations, soils and durable wood products can be maximized through
storage management. Sustainable forest management can generate forest biomass
as renewable resource.
vi. Waste (solid/liquid) management: Controlled landfill controls and reduces GHG
emissions but may have negative impacts on water quality in the case of

improperly managed sites. This also holds for aerobic biological treatment
(composting) and anaerobic biological treatment (anaerobic digestion). When
efficiently applied, wastewater transport and treatment technologies reduce or
eliminate GHG generation and emissions. In addition, wastewater management
promotes water conservation by preventing pollution from untreated discharges to
surface water, groundwater, soils, and coastal zones, thus reducing the volume of
pollutants, and requiring a smaller volume of water to be treated. Treated
wastewater can either be reused or discharged, but reuse is the most desirable
option for agricultural and horticultural irrigation, fish aquaculture, artificial
recharge of aquifers, or industrial applications. The only way to reduce
vulnerability is to build the infrastructure to remove solid waste and waste water
and supply potable water.
vii. Hydro power management: The conversion efficient of hydro power plants can be
raised. The world average conversion efficiency of 30 % could be more than
doubled in the longer term. Power plant emissions can be also be reduced by
switching to renewable sources, such as wind, solar and small hydro. The use of
wind turbines is now growing by over 25% per year. Total contributions from
non-hydro renewable sources are currently below 2% globally. In case of Nepal,
wind energy of only 2 KW has been used so far on top of 489 MW potential.
3MW of solar home system has been used but potential capacity is about 9MW
(APEC, 2008b). Financial feasible hydroelectricity potential is around 22000 MW
and about 628MW has been produced, in which 26.85MW accounts for micro-
hydro electricity power. Technology innovation, energy efficiency and an
emphasis on renewable energy sources will be essential for achieving this goal.

VI. Conclusion:
Climate change is an emerging human security issue that threatens numerous
communities. The nature and extent of climatic changes not only hinders human
development and environmental security, but also forms a major human security threat at
national and livelihood levels, particularly for the world’s most vulnerable groups. A
vulnerability approach is needed as different people in diverse contexts have different
vulnerabilities. It is time to conduct a vulnerability analysis of climate change mitigation
and adaptation. An integrated human and environmental security approach should be
promoted with inclusive of combining top-down measures (e.g. institutional
consolidation, laws, norms and policies) with bottom-up participation and resilience-
building for exposed communities. Without improved water resources management, the
progress towards poverty reduction targets, the Millennium Development Goals, and
sustainable development in all its economic, social and environmental dimensions, will
be jeopardized

Adapting to increasing climate variability and change through better water management
requires policy shifts and significant investments that should be guided by the actions of
mainstreaming adaptation within the broader development context, strengthening
governance of water resources management and improving integration of land and water
management, improving and sharing knowledge and information on climate, water and
adaptation measures, and investing in comprehensive and sustainable data collection and

monitoring systems and investing in cost-effective adaptive water management and
technology transfer. Climate change, its mitigation and adaptation may also create new
inequities, vulnerabilities and insecurities. However, this global phenomenon with its
local impacts, offers interesting opportunities to challenge existing paradigms and
practices and to develop alternative livelihoods. The best way to mitigate the negative
impacts of a disaster is to be prepared for it.

Adequate tools are not available to facilitate the appraisal of adaptation and mitigation
options across multiple water-dependent sectors, including the adoption of water-efficient
technologies and practices. In the absence of reliable projections of future changes in
hydrological variables, adaptation processes and methods which can be usefully
implemented in the absence of accurate projections, such as improved water-use
efficiency and water-demand management, offer no-regrets options to cope with climate

It is now widely acknowledged that negative effects of climate change affect women and
children the most because they depend on natural resources and the environment for all
their activities for the basic needs of their families. It is right time to be involved in
research and integrate climate change as a human security issue into human rights
frameworks, mechanisms and legislation at all policy levels.

There is abundant evidence from observational records and climate projections that
freshwater resources are vulnerable and have the potential to be strongly impacted by
climate change. However, the ability to quantify future changes in hydrological variables,
and their impacts on systems and sectors, is limited by uncertainty at all stages of the
assessment process. Because of the uncertainties involved, probabilistic approaches are
required to enable water managers to undertake analyses of risk under climate change.
Better observational data and data access are necessary to improve understanding of
ongoing changes, to better constrain model projections. Major gaps in observations of
climate change related to freshwater and hydrological cycles are to be minimized . For the
impact studies of climate change on water stress, higher temporal resolution scale (at
least monthly) is desirable, since changes in seasonal patterns and the probability of
extreme events may offset the positive effect of increased availability of water resources.
Relation between land use/land use change and climate change (including vegetation
change and anthropogenic activity such as irrigation and reservoir construction) should
be analysed more extensively by coupling climate and land-use modeling.

Climate change impacts on water quality are poorly understood for both developing and
developed countries, particularly with respect to the impact of extreme events. Despite its
significance, groundwater has received little attention in climate change impact
assessment compared to surface water resources.

GHG budget need to be better understood in agricultural land management. It is

important to get analyzed about higher carbon storage in soils through enhanced yields
and residue returns and its offset by CO2 emissions from energy systems to deliver the
water or by N2O emissions from higher moisture and fertilizer inputs. Better
understanding of the effects of massive afforestation on the processes forming the

hydrological cycle, such as rainfall, evapotranspiration, runoff, infiltration and
groundwater recharge is needed. Greater insight is needed into emissions from
decentralised treatment processes and uncontrolled wastewater discharges in developing
countries. The impact of properly reusing water on mitigation and adaptation strategies
needs to be understood and quantified.

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