The first part of the IPCC’s 6th report, published in August 2021, highlighted the scientific explanations for climate change and confirmed the responsibility of human activity for climate disruption. The IPCC published the second part of its report on 28 February: it contains worrying findings for the future but also proposes solutions. We will focus here on the issue of water resources.
“Water is not a commodity like any other but a heritage that must be protected, defended and treated as such”. While the first recital of Directive 2000/60/EC stresses the importance of protecting this common good, the IPCC also stresses the importance of preserving water resources in its report and outlines courses of action.
Indeed, the consequences of climate change make the emergence of extreme weather phenomena (floods, droughts, etc.) more important. All these phenomena are likely to have a negative impact on the key stages of the water cycle: reduced infiltration and recharge of water tables, concentration of pollution in water, etc.
Faced with this alarming situation, the IPCC indicates the importance of implementing adaptation and mitigation policies in relation to water resources:
- The IPCC thus recommends implementing a more sober management of water resources, concerning all users whether industrial, agricultural, domestic or the public sector.
- At the same time, the IPCC highlights the need to use alternative water resources, in particular through the use of non-conventional water.
- With regard to public water services more specifically, the IPCC calls for stormwater and wastewater networks to be adapted to extreme weather events.
Whether at the state level, local policy level or in our individual behaviour, we must all take these elements into account to protect the essential resource that is water.