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Effects of Climate Change on Water Utilities

Climate change has not been a talk of just recent times, but we have been trying to analyze and address the issue for more than two decades now. Hotter temperatures, irregular or disturbed rainfall patterns, and a constant rise in the sea level are but a few of the terms we hear. But these will, if not now but soon disrupt our utilities and infrastructures.

In this article, we will be discussing the effects of storms and flooding and other water-related emergencies like drought on our water utilities and the infrastructure around them.

Storm Surges and Sea-level rise

It is evident that water utilities and infrastructure around it are prone to be disrupted by persistent storms. Storms cause flooding and may cause overwhelming damage to the infrastructure. The rise in the sea level may further complicate the operational capabilities of the water utilities. It is predicted that there may be intense downpours, which will threaten the source water quality. This may cause the sewer treatments to discharge untreated or poorly treated stormwater and sewage directly into nearby water bodies. This may result in a considerable health hazard due to immense water quality degradation.

Sea-level rise

It may be important and essential to observe the vulnerable utilities for such heavy risks of flooding and storm surges with heavy downpours.

This will ease the runoff of pollutants and sediment through saltwater intrusion and will adversely affect the overall efforts to maintain water quality as the previous methods will not suffice. And it will be needed to use new and adaptive strategies to work on this polluted and sedimental water.

Draught and Sea-level rise

When these two are coupled together, they impose an immense threat to the saltwater intrusion into source waters. Whether it be groundwater or surface water, it will reduce the amount of available source water and degrade open-source water quality. The increase in air temperatures, which then paves the way to a corresponding increase in water temperatures, will also lead to the increasing growth of algae and microbes in some water bodies. An increase in HAB, which is Harmful Algal Blooms, may pose a significant threat to the available source water. This will increase the need for drinking water treatment and the expenditure on the infrastructure around it.

Thus climate change may result in increased water quality degradation around the drinking water and creational water. This may result in poor health and sanitation and pose a threat to humans and other life forms like all the aquatic animals, amphibians, and other terrestrial life forms.

Hence, it is essential to take precautionary measures as the worse is still in the future. We have time and economic and human resources to deal with the issue and help secure the future and end of our next generations.

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