Earth is Speaking
It’s not a secret anymore, we all feel it. The rising temperatures causing heat waves, the dry taps, the changes in weather. It’s undeniable, the climate is changing, faster than we could have imagined, it’s getting worse than we wanted to believe or accept.
According to a report by BBC, it is estimated that by 2025, half of the world’s population will live in water-stressed areas. Climate change and poor management of resources has caused a rise in drought which has inevitably resulted to some of the worst cases hunger we are experiencing, alongside related rising fatality rates.
In Graaff-Reinet, a town in South Africa, rain has not been seen in five years. Although being the 30th driest country in the world, South Africa’s Nqweba Dam in Graaff-Reinet has now left 37,670 residents stranded after it dried up. (Business Insider South Africa)
Locals now rely on boreholes to acquire water; the bigger challenge here is that the boreholes only yield enough water for 80% of the nearly 40,000 people in town. (Maverick Citizen, 2019) At a single water tanker near the Municipality’s Depot, where locals acquire water, one man fills up beer bottles with water. “We used to joke that if the water was bad, we will just drink beer. Now we don’t make jokes about water anymore…”
A village in Indonesia is surviving a drought on cave water; from a cave running 10 metres deep. This is because government water trucks deliver only once or twice in a month and the community trusts the cave water to be clean. Indonesia’s Java City has abundance of water, but the demand is leading to scarcity. By 2040, people in Java risk having just a quarter of their annual fresh water requirement. However, the solution that has been presented is building 12 dams to provide 10 million more homes with running water.
Australia’s Darling River has been affected by drought, people have had to take a step and evacuate 800 fish to deeper waters downstream. In 2018, up to 1 million fish died. The reason behind this was record heat, storm and poor water management. Although, scientists did report climate change as the amplifier of the crisis.
India’s Puzhal Lake was no different a few months ago. From space, the drought-stricken lake in Chennai was visible from space. Chennai is India’s sixth largest city and around 5 million people live there. So, how did this drought come about? In 2018, low rainfall caused many reservoirs in the city to dry up, but this was not only a result of erratic rainfall, but also due to building much of the city on what was once wetlands; these parts hold commercial and residential properties, what was alarming was that water was not being conserved and there was no surety in how much was there for the population. Wells, though being opened every day, would run almost dry in half an hour.
A silver lining emerged in this case, luckily. Excess rains were received by Chennai causing a 5% increase in rains in October as part of the northeast monsoon. The four main reservoirs are set to reach full capacity for the first time since 2015. This indeed, brings respite to Chennaiites.
What is earth saying? Let us plan earlier and adapt faster, earth depends on us at such a crucial time, and we need it even more for our survival.