Fresh water changes signs of climate change

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The impacts of climate change are most visible in the dramatic changes occurring to the planet' s fresh water resources, said a report released Thursday by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) at the ongoing World Water Week in Stockholm on Sept. 5-11.

"The very language of climate change -- drought, floods, desertification, famines, tropical cyclones -- is the language of water,"said WWF-US CEO Carter Roberts in a statement issued by WWF during the water week.

The report, titled Flowing Forward, written for the World Bank, finds both visible water such as rivers, lakes, precipitation, glaciers, snowpack, water used for crops and livestock, health and sanitation services, hydroelectric and nuclear power are all heavily influenced by climate change, the statement said.

"Good water management is the tool we need to sustain development in the face of climate change,"Roberts said.

Flowing Forward marks the first comprehensive set of tools to achieve climate-sustainable water management, the statement said.

"Our current model of sustainable development is threatened by climate change. Engineers, policy-makers and resource managers need new tools to prepare for more extreme floods and droughts and we believe that ecosystems are the best scorecard to see how our cities, farms and economies are adapting to climate change," said co-author John Mathews of WWF-US in the statement.

He said that the design and operation of dams, irrigation systems and energy production grids should help people and ecosystems adjust to emerging climate condition and that needs environmental flows, integrated Water Resource Management and the creation of monitoring networks.

"The threats are being felt now. The World Bank needs such climate adaptation decision-making techniques now,"Julia Bucknall, manager for the World Bank's Energy, Transport and Water Department was quoted as saying in the statement.

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