Urban Water Risk Scenarios: How Climate Change Will Hit Where You Live

3 Nov 2020 by Staff - Water Diplomat
GENEVA, Switzerland

Environmental organisation WWF has released analysis of new water risk scenarios for 100 cities around the world.

The city risk analysis, released on World Cities Day (31 October), includes scenarios in Beijing, Jakarta, Jaipur, Johannesburg, Istanbul, Hong Kong, Mecca and Rio de Janeiro, with almost half of the cities at risk being in China. "Cities across the world have paid a high price in recent years due to worsening water risks. From acute risks that have seen historic floods to chronic risks that have seen their taps running dry, the water challenges cities are facing are only going to increase in the coming decades because the impacts of climate change will primarily be felt through water,” said Alexis Morgan, WWF Global Water Stewardship Lead upon the launch of the new assessments.

The 100 cities facing the greatest rise in water risks by 2050 are home to 350 million people • Almost half the cities are in China, with other hotspots in South Asia, Middle East, South America and Africa, while India dominates both current and future lists of cities with the highest overall water risk

Using the Water Risk Filter tool, WWF estimates that approximately 350 million people currently live in urban areas that are expected to suffer the greatest rise in water risk over the next 30 years. These cities are crucial to both national and global economies and the populations are expected to grow by about 17 Percent during the same period.

Further info and raw data HERE

WWF is calling for urgent action to mitigate greenhouse gases and to develop more sophisticated adaption programme. It has suggested new and substantial investment in nature-based solutions that build resilience to water risks at the river basin level.

“Enhancing the health of watersheds, river basins and wetlands strengthens cities’ resilience and helps to ensure urban economies can withstand and bounce back from these scenarios,” added Morgan.

Improving urban water infrastructure and reducing consumption will ameliorate water risks but restoration of degraded watersheds is critical to safeguarding economies and human wellbeing.

WWF has called on private sector companies to protect their operations and assets through investment in projects that help address the health of freshwater ecosystems, reduce waste and generate income. WWF encourages governments and private sector companies and financial institutions to cooperate in such investment to build resilience at the river basin level.

The new climate and socio-economic pathway-based scenarios for 2030 and 2050 are available in the WWF Water Risk Filter. The scenarios are aligned to the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD) recommendations and can help companies, and cities, better understand future water risks and drive more effective corporate action on climate and water resilience. The Water Risk Filter is the leading online tool for assessing, valuing and responding to water risk.