Climate change and its effect on water, sanitation and hygiene

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Climate change is global phenomenon and caused by the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the lower atmosphere. The main sources of greenhouse gases are due to human activities. CO2 which is a major gas causing greenhouse gas effects, has been increased by 38 percent in current level with 880 billion tons in atmosphere now. It is estimated to reach to upper limit of 935 billion tons before final tipping point to an unpredictable or undetermined climate state on 2020 at present loading rate of 4.4 billion tons per year. The effect of climate change is seen as large change in precipitation, sea level rise, and shift climate zones towards the poles and ecosystems decline. Climate change affects two dimensions of space and temporal on availability of water, the sanitation and hygiene will automatically effected in multi dimensional frame such as space, time, health, wealth and dignity etc. It needs to analysis the effects on water systems consisting of agricultural water, sea water, surface and groundwater, for overall impact; whereas effects on water quality, pollution and health due to climate change summarize total effect on sanitation and hygiene.

Climate change is a global problem that requires a global solution. This paper has focused short term as 10 steps of individual efforts and long-term as sustainable planning and management, to adapt with and to minimize global warming. The paper has discussed about water management relation matrix (WMRM) for sustainable planning and management keeping water at centre in the matrix to cope with effects of climate change. Adapting to increasing climate variability and change through better water management requires policy shifts and significant investments. Climate change, its mitigation and adaptation may also create new inequities, vulnerabilities and insecurities. It is time to conduct a vulnerability analysis of climate change mitigation and adaptation. Relation between land use/land use change and climate change (including vegetation change and anthropogenic activity such as irrigation and reservoir construction) should be analysed more extensively; e.g., by coupled climate and land-use modeling.

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