Increasing dependence of lowland populations on mountain water resources

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Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
A1 Alkuperäisartikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä
Date
2020-11
Major/Subject
Mcode
Degree programme
Language
en
Pages
22
Series
Nature Sustainability
Abstract
Mountain areas provide disproportionally high runoff in many parts of the world, but their importance for water resources and food production has not been clarified from the viewpoint of the lowland areas downstream. Here we quantify the extent to which lowland inhabitants potentially depend on runoff contributions from mountain areas (39% of the global land mass). We show that similar to 1.5 billion people (24% of the world's lowland population) are projected to depend critically on runoff contributions from mountains by the mid-twenty-first century under a 'middle of the road' scenario, compared with similar to 0.2 billion (7%) in the 1960s. This striking rise is mainly due to increased local water consumption in the lowlands, whereas changes in mountain and lowland runoff play only a minor role. We further show that one-third of the global lowland area equipped for irrigation is currently located in regions that both depend heavily on runoff contributions from mountains and make unsustainable use of local blue water resources, a figure that is likely to rise to well over 50% in the coming decades. Our findings imply that mountain areas should receive particular attention in water resources management and underscore the protection they deserve in efforts towards sustainable development.
Description
| openaire: EC/H2020/819202/EU//SOS.aquaterra
Keywords
CLIMATE-CHANGE, HYDROLOGICAL SIGNIFICANCE, SNOW, GLACIER, RUNOFF, VULNERABILITY, AVAILABILITY, REGIONS, FUTURE, EXTENT
Other note
Citation
Viviroli, D, Kummu, M, Meybeck, M, Kallio, M & Wada, Y 2020, ' Increasing dependence of lowland populations on mountain water resources ', Nature Sustainability, vol. 3, no. 11, pp. 917-928 . https://doi.org/10.1038/s41893-020-0559-9