Water pollution, scarcity, and flooding threats require urgent global attention, report warns

 

Urgent steps to reduce the risks of water pollution, flooding, and drought are needed right across the world as part of broader measures to increase climate resilience, a major new University of Oxford-led research project has warned.

The report, released last week by the University's research programme REACH, offers an overview of research on water and climate-related risks, and highlights both overt and more subtle impacts from droughts and floods, including adverse social impacts on female education and empowerment.

Other findings in the report include worrying links between heavy rainfall and outbreaks of disease, and between reductions in rainfall and a concentration in pollutions that cause cancers.

Women, children, sick, and elderly people at are the highest risk of death in climate-related emergencies such as floods, the research suggests. Moreover, in places with severe water insecurity, women's empowerment is lower, as education is often sacrificed for children's safety or income generation during extreme weather events, it explains.