Woman draws water from muddy pit while her daughters look on. Photo credit: ChildFund International

The Latest report released by international water and hygiene advocacy group, WaterAid has predicted that the current climate scenario is likely to cause widespread water scarcity that may displace between 24 million and 700 million people, by 2030.

An excerpt from the report released to coincide with the 2021 World Water Day has also revealed the effect of climate change induced water scarcity on women and girls.

In statement released on Monday, the body disclosed that Women and girls around the world collectively spend an estimated 200 million hours a year, estimated at around 23,000 years, walking to fetch water.

The report titled: “Turn the tide: The state of the world’s water 2021” also shows that people are losing access to clean water, as protracted periods of droughts are drying up springs, seawater infiltrates groundwater supplies and landslides are taking out water pumps.

In Nigeria, where an estimated 60 million people are unable to access clean water close to their homes, the hours spent collecting water or the time needed to recover from waterborne illnesses caused by dirty water, robs entire communities of an opportunity to build a better future. For the girls and women, the effect is more as the search for clean water source takes time away from their education and disproportionately impacts on their lives.

While lamenting the poor attention being given to climate change and its effect on water supplies, WaterAid stated that “Climate change acts as a threat multiplier for water, exacerbating problems caused by poor management of water resources, lack of political will and inadequate investment.”

“Currently, only 5% of total global climate funding is spent on helping countries adapt to their changing climate, and that money is not targeted at the communities most vulnerable to climate change,” the WaterAid statement noted, adding that the investment in ensuring that everyone has a reliable and safe water source to help make communities become more resilient to climate change, is completely inadequate to the growing crisis.

With less than a decade to deliver on Sustainable Development Goal 6 – clean water and sanitation for all, WaterAid has called on governments at sub-national and national levels to address current and future threats to water access as part of climate actions plans, including the National Action Plan for the Revitalisation of the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene sector (NAP), and national budgets.

According to Evelyn Mere, Country Director, WaterAid Nigeria, climate change is making it more difficult for vulnerable people to be able to rely on having clean water when they need it.

“Unless communities have access to a reliable source of water, people’s health will suffer, and they’ll be burdened with spending more and more time searching for water, taking away the opportunity to create a better life and escape poverty,” Mere said.




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