Millions of people are displaced by climate-related disasters each year, and this trend is set to increase as climate change accelerates. With increasing global surface temperatures the possibility of more droughts, fires, floods as well intensity of storms will likely occur. As more water vapor is evaporated into the atmosphere it becomes fuel for more powerful storms to develop. More heat in the atmosphere and warmer ocean surface temperatures can lead to increased wind speeds in tropical storms. Rising sea levels expose higher locations not usually subjected to the power of the sea and to the erosive forces of waves and currents.

In other parts of the world, rising temperatures and decreased precipitation has resulted in drier soils which has increased wildfire activity. This combined with smaller and earlier snowmelts as well as an increase in evaporation due to less vegetation has resulted in a lengthening of fire seasons. This has been very prevalent in western parts of North America, northern parts of Europe and Asia and most recently in Australia. 

According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, since 2008, an average of 25.3 million people have been forcibly displaced due to environmental disasters every year. After Hurricane Maria, over two-thirds of the population of Puerto Rico was at potential risk of exposure to bacterial contamination in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, according to the National Resources Defense Council.  

Wildfires can disrupt water supply infrastructure as they burn and can persist after the fires are out. Australia experienced numerous power failures which shut down municipal water treatment plants just as demand was at a peak because of the large amounts of water needed to fight the fire. As the rains came to help extinguish the fires, water supplies were contaminated with ash and soot which exacerbated the problem.

Water Crisis Not Suitable For Drinking

In addition to increased hurricanes and forest fires, climate change has increased the extent and frequency of droughts and floods. Extreme rainfall, and the extreme lack of it, affects millions of people across the globe. According to a study by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research the number of dry months in sub-Saharan Africa has increased by nearly 50 percent. Likewise, heavy rainfall events, with severe flooding, are occurring more often in the central and Eastern United States, Northern Europe and northern Asia.

new orleans, louisiana, hurricane katrina

Localized Water Solutions is well positioned to respond to the increasing number of communities affected by natural disasters. Its off-grid solar water treatment technology, NESMD, is easily scalable and transportable and can be can quickly be deployed anywhere in the world. Combined with its smart water monitoring platform, Waterkeys®, emergency relief organizations can monitor the local situation on the ground from anywhere.

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