UNICEF have released a report entitled, “Thirsting for a Future – Water and Children in a Changing Climate”. The report can be freely downloaded from the UNICEF page.
Climate change is one of many forces contributing to an unfolding water crisis. In the coming years, the demand for water will increase as food production grows, populations grow and move, industries develop and consumption increases. This can lead to water stress, as increasing demand and use of water strain available supplies. One of the most effective ways to protect children in the face of climate change is to safeguard their access to safe water and sanitation. This report shares a series of solutions, policy responses and case studies from UNICEF’s work around the world.
By 2040, almost 600 million children are projected to be living in areas of extremely high water stress. The report says that if action is not taken to plan for water stress, and to safeguard access to safe water and sanitation, many of these children will face a higher risk of death, disease, and malnutrition.
The effects of climate change intensify the multiple risks contributing to an unfolding water crisis by reducing the quantity and quality of water, contaminating water reserves, and disrupting water and sanitation systems. Rising temperatures, greater frequency and severity of droughts and floods, melting snow and ice, and rising sea levels, all threaten the water supplies that children rely on and can undermine safe sanitation and hygiene practices.