Here’s how we can fix our broken water infrastructure

In many ways, it is difficult to imagine a world of about 8 billion people and $ 85 trillion in annual goods and services without this water engineering. Cairo, Phoenix and other large desert cities never developed to their present size. California’s Sunny Central Valley would not have become such an abundant producer of vegetables, fruits and nuts.

Yet when it comes to water, the past is not a good guide for the future. The planet’s heat is fundamentally changing the water cycle, and most of the world is not ready for its consequences.

One of the most alarming wake-up calls came in 2018, when nearly 4 million residents in the South African city of Cape Town were forced to turn off their taps. Its reservoirs dried up due to three consecutive years of drought. City officials began announcing “Day Zero” to the public – water has not flowed into the home’s taps since.

No matter how exciting it may be, the solution is not to bend nature too much to our liking by creating larger, taller and longer versions of water-engineering infrastructure.

Defensive measures helped Cape Town advance to Day Zero – and then, fortunately, the rain came back. But no city wants to rely on luck to get it out of disaster. Scientists later determined that the likelihood of a severe drought in Cape Town had increased five to six times due to climate change.

Droughts, floods and other climate-related disasters come at great cost. In 2017, three major hurricanes in the U.S. caused a record $ 306 billion in damage, more than six times the annual average since 1980. While 2017 appears to be an outlier, climate scientists expect it to be an annual disaster cost of magnitude. Normal by the end of the century.

No matter how exciting it may be, the solution is not to bend nature too much to our liking by creating larger, taller and longer versions of water-engineering infrastructure. It has to do more with natural processes, instead of doing the opposite, and improving it instead of continuing to break the water cycle. Along with water conservation measures, such approaches can create more resilient water systems. They can also help solve our interconnected water, climate and biodiversity crises together and cost-effectively.

As flooding worsens, for example, instead of increasing the height of levies જે which often intensify flooding downstream આપણે we may consider strategically reconnecting rivers with their natural floodplains. In this way, we can reduce flooding, get more carbon, recharge groundwater and create critical habitats for fish, birds and wildlife.

The Netherlands, famous for its state-of-the-art water engineering, avoided major flood damage in July 2021 due to its new approach to flood control, which allows rivers to divert during flood events. The Mass River, which flows through Belgium (where it is called the Muse), broke its 1993 high-flow record last July, but suffered less damage than previous floods. One reason was the recently completed project that turned floodwaters into 1,300 acres of wetland, which retained water and reduced parts of the ragging mass by more than a foot. Wetlands also isolate carbon and double as nature conservation, providing valuable climate and wildlife benefits as well as recreational opportunities. Through its “Room for the River” program, the Dutch are implementing this nature-based flood control project in 30 locations across the country.

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