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The effects of climate change on drinking water

In October 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), part of the United Nations, issued a report entitled, Global Warming of 1.5°C. Using over 6,000 scientific references, it examined the ecological impact of limiting the earth’s temperature rise to 1.5°C, or 2.7°F, versus letting it climb to 2°C. In short, one half of one degree could be the difference between the world we know now and the extinction of many life forms.

In the two centuries since the Industrial Revolution, global warming has increased by about 0.9°C or 1.62°F. This increase isn’t even a full degree Celsius, yet today people around the world are experiencing the challenges of higher ocean levels, diminishing polar ice caps and more frequent extreme weather. If temperatures keep rising, what will be the impact of climate change on our drinking water?

Droughts and water scarcity

Higher temperatures can lead to droughts and cause source water for drinking, like rivers and lakes, to dry up. Also, mountain glaciers are sometimes referred to as “natural water towers.” As glaciers recede due to increased temperatures, this water source also grows more scarce.

Floods and water infrastructure

Conversely, rather than too little water, climate change can also exacerbate hurricanes and flooding. This year, Hurricane Florence caused record levels of flooding in parts of North Carolina. As a result, the public drinking water supply system was breached. Following the storm, officials warned residents not to drink the water because potentially harmful bacteria from area agricultural and hog production had seeped into it.

What everyone can do

One easy way to curb climate change is to refrain from buying single-use water bottles. Emissions are generated during the processing and transportation of bottled water, and scientists have discovered that “plastics emit the greenhouse gases methane and ethylene when they are exposed to sunlight and degrade.” Additionally, plastic water bottles (and straws) contribute to ocean pollution.

The Coway Aquamega 100 triple-filter system can provide you and your family with an unlimited supply of drinking water—without the need for plastic bottles. In every glass, you’ll enjoy clear, crisp water, right from the tap.