This is how we can repair our broken water foundations


In many ways, it is difficult to imagine a world of about 8 billion people with $ 85 trillion in economic and annual jobs without water engineering. Cairo, Phoenix, and other major desert cities could not grow to their full size. Central California’s tropical climate would not be so rich in vegetables, fruits, and nuts.

However, when it comes to water, the past is no longer a good guide for the future. Global warming is having a profound effect on water systems, and many in the world are not ready for the consequences.

One of the most alarming telephones ever launched came in 2018, when the city of Cape Town, South Africa, was about to close the drinking water supply of 4 million people. Three consecutive years of drought had dried up its barns. City officials began publicizing “Day Zero” —the date on which the water stopped flowing into the home tap.

To put it bluntly, the solution does not continue to drive the environment towards our will by building larger, more sophisticated, and longer equipment for water treatment plants.

Safety measures helped Cape Town to push Day Zero forward – and then, fortunately, the rain came again. But no city wants to rely on an opportunity to bring disaster. Scientists later realized that climate change had led to an increase in Cape Town’s severe drought five or five times.

Drought, floods, and other weather-related disasters come with huge prices. In 2017, three major hurricanes in the U.S. were the cause of a record $ 306 billion in damage, more than six times a year since 1980. Although 2017 may seem strange, climate scientists expect a catastrophic annual catastrophe. common by the end of this century.

To put it bluntly, the solution does not continue to drive the environment towards our will by building larger, more sophisticated, and longer equipment for water treatment plants. It is to work more with natural methods, not against them, and to improve the flow of water, rather than continue to break down. Along with water-saving measures, such methods can make water more stable. They can also help solve our water, climate, and biodiversity problems simultaneously and at little cost.

For example, as flooding intensifies, instead of raising the tides — often downstream — we can consider ways to connect rivers with natural floodwaters. In this way, we can reduce flooding, catch more air, drain groundwater, and build reserves for fish, birds, and wildlife.

The Netherlands, a country known for its advanced water engineering, avoided major flood damage in July 2021 due to its new approach to flood response, which allows rivers to overflow during floods. The Maas River, originally from Belgium (now called Meuse), violated its 1993 record of the highest speed in July last year, but did little more than cause flooding. One reason was a recently completed project that diverted flooding into a 1,300-acre[1,000 ha]swamp, which was flooded and reduced parts of the angry Maas to one foot. The dam also combines air and doubles as a nature reserve, providing climate and wildlife benefits as well as opportunities for recreation. Through its “Room for the River” program, the Dutch are implementing flood relief operations in 30 areas across the country.

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