Impacts of Climate Change on Water Prices

 Impacts of Climate Change on Water Prices

As global warming keeps increasing with every passing year, climate change could affect both water usage and water availability around the world over the next century. Global temperatures are predicted to increase between 2°C and 6°C, with local increases in water shortages becoming more severe. Climate change is already impacting our water usage and supply, and if a few simple measures are not put into place to protect supplies, the water prices will skyrocket in the future.

Listed below are a few tangible impacts of climate change on water prices and actions that individual countries need to adopt: 

With global warming, the Earth is getting warmer and this is causing changing temperatures, sea levels, and water levels supported by scientific research. One of the major effects has been global cooling, creating a lot of warm weather in many parts of the world. The 2015 drought in California caused by climate change was referred to as one of the worst droughts to occur in the last 1,300 years.  

The number of people consuming water for cooking has increased significantly since the 1960s. This has had a dramatic impact on water consumption with consumption increasing by 90% over this time frame and an additional 2% per year until 2020. The food and beverage retail sector is responsible for 45% of all water consumption in developed countries like the USA, Canada, and Australia.  

The dry spell in 2009 and 2010 with reductions in precipitation and snowfall during the springs, added moisture stress to reservoirs. Long-term weather trends are expected to lead to more intense and frequent heatwaves in the summer months causing water shortages across the globe.

The last two years have been dry, with reservoir storage at its lowest levels in more than 60 years. Long-term climate trends predict increasing temperatures and decreasing precipitation, a trend that will give rise to more intense heat waves and less reliable runoff.

The effects of global climate change will most likely continue to be felt in the region well into the 21st century. Rainwater is the biggest source of potable water for humans, with over one billion people daily using it for cooking and drinking. But a new study from researchers at the University of California in Irvine, Calif., suggests raindrops may soon have a harder time finding that water because mountain glaciers and ice sheets are melting at an unprecedented rate.

The report, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, said that prior assumptions about how much water could be extracted from rainforests were too optimistic because models had failed to consider the idea that glaciers might be melting more quickly than scientists previously thought.

Global warming may sound like a mysterious issue affecting the planet’s future, but it is quite simple. The hotter the air, the more water evaporates; sea levels rise and changes to marine life affect fish supplies; dry regions that have never had water now rely on it, and it can trigger famine and death in many areas of the world. Climate change already is affecting people all around the globe. The United Nations has estimated that, during the next 25 years, $1 trillion will be spent fighting climate change.

Climate change will lower water tables across the countries, reducing runoff in the winter. In the long-term, climate change will affect where and how much water is available for all of us. Why and how it begins, however, is still an open question. In Australia, the first and most common assumption is that we can directly link climate change to high water prices including Goulburn Murray water trading prices

If you live in Australia, you know that water is not only an essential commodity, but it is also one of the most expensive. If only we had a way to store more of it and reduce demand on limited resources. As water supplies dwindle and air conditioning demand rises every year, many are waking up to the fact that climate change can put water prices up, or even create new and interesting problems. 

Rising temperatures in Australia across the country will directly increase the costs of providing water treatment services to protect the health and environment of the citizens by 30 percent in the coming decades. These costs are projected to soar with 90 percent certainty if global greenhouse gas concentrations are not slashed very soon. Some estimates also predict we could see major ripple effects up and down the food chain—from higher food prices for farmers by 20 percent due to damages from extreme weather, and less productivity for agricultural workers.  

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