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Water Security Threats: Climate Change vs Human Factors
Wednesday, May 26, 2021, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm

Increasing water security threats (floods/droughts) are often explained by progressing climate change. At the same time there are many influential, yet not widely analyzed, factors that need to be taken into consideration. Such neglected factors can be found in both environmental and social domains: changing land cover, impounded rivers, floodplain urbanization, evolving perception of disasters, are some among others. The importance of these factors varies depending on regional specifics and conditions. To be better prepared for upcoming climate change threats, local communities should not only follow global narratives on climate change, but also recognize region-specific climate risks.

My research combines new methods of scientific enquiry, e.g. cloud technologies of satellite imagery analysis, with historical data on socio-economic trends in river basins and associated changes in local communities’ life styles. In some cases, increasing water security threats and corresponding reported socio-economic problems, including armed conflicts, are (un)intentional consequences of changes in specific water and land management patterns within river basins rather than climate change drivers.