Discussions with Strangers, Episode Two: Thinking about water

A British study on the impacts of climate change states, among other things,

By the 2050s, between 27 million and 59 millionpeople in Britain are likely to be living in areas suffering problems with water supplies, the report claims. Britain is predicted to have a population of about 77 million by 2050.

There a numerous other impacts listed, but one commenter focused on the water shortage claim, and more specifically, the span of 27-59 million people affected. 

slinkybro:
“By the 2050s, between 27 million and 59 million people in Britain are likely to be living in areas suffering problems with water supplies.” – Well which is it? 27 or 59? How worried should I be? Will I be one of them? If I’m not, what will cost me? If I am, I’m moving.

After getting the initial snark out of my system, I ended up giving more of a useful answer:

“The prediction­s aren’t designed for individual people. As we keep being told (like we didn’t know), the more specific you try to get, the more difficult it is to be accurate. You know that 27-59 million people will be short on water, and that means that water will either have to be shipped TO them, or they will have to go to where there IS water. That, in turn will put a strain on more water-rich areas.

If you’re wondering what YOU can do, as a hypothetic­al British citizen, that depends on where you are and what your resources are. If you don’t have many resources, and you can’t pool them with others, then support legislation that will improve water stability – filtration­, storage, and efficiency improvements can all help.

If you DO have resources, you can invest in ways to store water yourself, either for your own use, or to help others in times of need. Or to sell in times of need, if that’s your thing…

If you own coastal property that’s elevated enough that it won’t all be at risk from sea level rise, you could invest in desalination technology­, and a repliable way to power it, like wind or solar, and store desalinate­d sea water.

Or you can just save money for emergencies, I suppose.

When that many people are short on water, it WILL have an impact on others who aren’t short on water.”

I’ll just add that if it’s 27 million, that’s a little under half of the projected population of Great Britain. If it’s 59 million, that’s the entire current population of the UK, or a majority of the population of Britain in 2050.

I’m really, REALLY not kidding when I say that if even the lower end of these projections is right, every single citizen in Britain will be affected, even if their area has reliable water.

We need to be thinking, everywhere in the world, about future water supplies, and how we’re going to manage them.

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