By Cameron Chai
Nature Climate Change has recently published a research report highlighting how water systems in the humid tropical areas are on the brink of rapid change that will endanger the people of the area because of the risk of contamination of drinking water sources and floods.
Dr Nick Chapell, Lancaster hydrologist stated that use of land in tropical areas is undergoing a very rapid and extensive change more than any other region in the world because of deforestation or rainforest clearance, rapid urbanization and in certain areas widespread planting of oil palm plantations with increased agro-chemical inputs. This along with the increasing water cycle features such as heavy rainfall and flashy rivers can result in a higher frequency of flooding that would impact a lot of people living in the quickly developing tropical areas.
Chapell also added that there is a lot of tropical urbanization without any simultaneous development in waste water management that is resulting in severe contamination of rivers, which is one of the main water sources for providing drinking water to the rapidly expanding population in the area. Since present research in the area heavily depends upon modeling, a research team has formed a strategy to provide evidence to enhance understanding of how integrated efforts of land-cover adjustments and changing water cycle affect people in developing countries.
The recommendations of the team include the following:
- It is essential that global models take more account of the tropical subsurface to precisely forecast the major components of the water cycle
- More field studies need to be done, which address how the water system reacts to events like flood producing rainfalls, tropical cyclones, and severe droughts
- Hydrological measurements in several tropical countries are not complete and have to be expanded by using data sharing and new technologies