Reflecting the Mind of the
Vatican Since 1850

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Water, A Global Urgency
Even though our planet is called “Earth,” three-quarters of its surface is water. Most is salty with almost 98 percent made up of seas and oceans. Only 2.4 percent consists of fresh water, found in glaciers, rivers, underground sources and the atmosphere. Of this, only 0.025 percent is easily accessible drinking water. This already small percentage is shrinking further, as the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) points out. Recently, rivers such as the Niger, Volta, Nile and Po have shown lower than usual flow rates. The lowering of river levels, in fact, is becoming more frequent across the entire planet, and according to recent research published in the journal Science, this can only be explained by the effects of climate change: “Human influence on climate has affected the magnitude of low, mean and high river flows on a global scale.”

The impact of climate change is often seen through water. It increases the variability of the hydrological cycle, causes extreme events, and reduces future water availability, and affects water quality. In turn, this whole range of consequences threatens sustainable development, biodiversity and the benefits of the human right to clean water and sanitation around the world.

In this article we will reflect on this vital issue, with its many technical aspects and policy options, making explicit reference to the vision of the Social Doctrine of the Church.
© Union of Catholic Asian News 2024
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