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Water Shortages: An Overlooked Effect Of The Climate Crisis | NBC News Now


BUT IN MANY AREAS AROUND THE WORLD, THERE ISN’T ENOUGH WATER. WORLD, THERE ISN’T ENOUGH WATER.>>AS YOU KNOW BY NOW, CLIMATE>>AS YOU KNOW BY NOW, CLIMATE CHANGE CAN HAVE WIDE-REACHING CHANGE CAN HAVE WIDE-REACHING IMPACTS. IMPACTS. YOU HEAR A LOT ABOUT FLUCTUATING YOU HEAR A LOT ABOUT FLUCTUATING TEMPERATURES, RISING SEA LEVELS. TEMPERATURES, RISING SEA LEVELS. PLACES LIKE THE BAHAMAS AND PLACES LIKE THE BAHAMAS AND PUERTO RICO RECOVERING FROM PUERTO RICO RECOVERING FROM EXTREME AMOUNTS OF RAIN AND EXTREME AMOUNTS OF RAIN AND FLOODING. FLOODING. BUT AT THE SAME TIME OTHER AREAS BUT AT THE SAME TIME OTHER AREAS DON’T HAVE ENOUGH WATER. DON’T HAVE ENOUGH WATER. IN PARTS OF INDIA THIS YEAR IN PARTS OF INDIA THIS YEAR PEOPLE WAITED IN LONG LINES FOR PEOPLE WAITED IN LONG LINES FOR SOME WATER AND HAD TO RATION SOME WATER AND HAD TO RATION WATER FOR BATHING, COOKING AND WATER FOR BATHING, COOKING AND DRINKING. DRINKING. IN THAILAND A DROUGHT BROUGHT IN THAILAND A DROUGHT BROUGHT WATER LEVELS SO LOW THAT IT WATER LEVELS SO LOW THAT IT REVEALED THE RUINS OF A BUDDHIST REVEALED THE RUINS OF A BUDDHIST TEMPLE. TEMPLE. WE WENT TO THE EXPERTS AT NASA. WE WENT TO THE EXPERTS AT NASA. WHY DOES NASA CARE ABOUT WHY DOES NASA CARE ABOUT DROUGHTS? DROUGHTS?>>MOST PEOPLE THINK OF NASA AND>>MOST PEOPLE THINK OF NASA AND SPACE AND ASTRONAUTS. SPACE AND ASTRONAUTS. BUT A CORE PART OF THE MISSION BUT A CORE PART OF THE MISSION IS TO STUDY THE EARTH, THINGS IS TO STUDY THE EARTH, THINGS LIKE DROUGHTS, FLOODS, EXTREME LIKE DROUGHTS, FLOODS, EXTREME RAINFALL. RAINFALL.>>I THINK WHEN A LOT OF PEOPLE>>I THINK WHEN A LOT OF PEOPLE HERE IN THE U.S. THINK ABOUT HERE IN THE U.S. THINK ABOUT DRAUGHTS, THEY THINK ABOUT A DRAUGHTS, THEY THINK ABOUT A WEEKS WITHOUT RAIN. WEEKS WITHOUT RAIN.>>DROUGHTS ARE REALLY ABOUT>>DROUGHTS ARE REALLY ABOUT WATER AND WATER IS ESSENTIAL FOR WATER AND WATER IS ESSENTIAL FOR PRETTY MUCH EVERYTHING THAT BOTH PRETTY MUCH EVERYTHING THAT BOTH OUR SOCIETIES DO AND ALSO WHAT OUR SOCIETIES DO AND ALSO WHAT ECOSYSTEMS NEED. ECOSYSTEMS NEED. DROUGHTS ARE NOT REALLY JUST A DROUGHTS ARE NOT REALLY JUST A FEW WEEKS WITHOUT RAINFALL. FEW WEEKS WITHOUT RAINFALL. DROUGHTS CAN BE 20 YEAR LONG DROUGHTS CAN BE 20 YEAR LONG EVENTS LIKE WE JUST ENDED IN THE EVENTS LIKE WE JUST ENDED IN THE SOUTHWEST UNITED STATES. SOUTHWEST UNITED STATES. OR IT CAN BE MULTI-YEAR EVENTS OR IT CAN BE MULTI-YEAR EVENTS LIKE THE RECENT DROUGHT IN LIKE THE RECENT DROUGHT IN CALIFORNIA. CALIFORNIA. CLIMATE CHANGE IS PUSHING THESE CLIMATE CHANGE IS PUSHING THESE EVENTS INTO A SCALE THAT ARE EVENTS INTO A SCALE THAT ARE REALLY UNPRECEDENTED. REALLY UNPRECEDENTED. WE’RE LOOKING AT DROUGHTS THAT WE’RE LOOKING AT DROUGHTS THAT ARE MORE INTENSE, THAT ARE MORE ARE MORE INTENSE, THAT ARE MORE PERSISTENT THAN ANYTHING PEOPLE PERSISTENT THAN ANYTHING PEOPLE HAVE HAD TO DEAL WITH FOR MAYBE HAVE HAD TO DEAL WITH FOR MAYBE THE LAST 200 YEARS. THE LAST 200 YEARS.>>IT SOUNDS LIKE IN SOME CASES>>IT SOUNDS LIKE IN SOME CASES DROUGHTS AREN’T CAUSED BY DROUGHTS AREN’T CAUSED BY CLIMATE CHANGE BUT ARE CLIMATE CHANGE BUT ARE INFLUENCED BY CLIMATE CHANGE. INFLUENCED BY CLIMATE CHANGE.>>THAT’S EXACTLY RIGHT.>>THAT’S EXACTLY RIGHT. DROUGHTS ARE A NORMAL FEATURE OF DROUGHTS ARE A NORMAL FEATURE OF NATURAL VARIATIONS IN THE NATURAL VARIATIONS IN THE CLIMATE SYSTEM. CLIMATE SYSTEM. WHAT CLIMATE CHANGE CAN DO IS WHAT CLIMATE CHANGE CAN DO IS MAKE IT A LITTLE MORE LIKELY MAKE IT A LITTLE MORE LIKELY THOSE NATURAL VARIATIONS WITH THOSE NATURAL VARIATIONS WITH SLIDE INTO DROUGHT OR IF A SLIDE INTO DROUGHT OR IF A DROUGHT DOES OCCUR, CLIMATE DROUGHT DOES OCCUR, CLIMATE CHANGE MEANS THAT DROUGHT MIGHT CHANGE MEANS THAT DROUGHT MIGHT BE A BIT MORE SEVERE, A BIT BE A BIT MORE SEVERE, A BIT DRIER. DRIER.>>IN MARCH OF THIS YEAR>>IN MARCH OF THIS YEAR CALIFORNIA’S DROUGHT OFFICIALLY CALIFORNIA’S DROUGHT OFFICIALLY ENDED AFTER MORE THAN SEVEN ENDED AFTER MORE THAN SEVEN YEARS. YEARS. JUST LAST MONTH, TEXAS SAW A JUST LAST MONTH, TEXAS SAW A FLASH DROUGHT, ONE THAT FLASH DROUGHT, ONE THAT DEVELOPED MUCH MORE RAPIDLY THAN DEVELOPED MUCH MORE RAPIDLY THAN NORMAL. NORMAL. ONLY 1% OF THE STATE WAS ONLY 1% OF THE STATE WAS EXPERIENCING DROUGHT CONDITIONS EXPERIENCING DROUGHT CONDITIONS IN MAY. IN MAY. BUT BY MID AUGUST THAT NUMBER BUT BY MID AUGUST THAT NUMBER JUMPED TO 65%. JUMPED TO 65%. WE’RE HEARING ABOUT A LOT OF WE’RE HEARING ABOUT A LOT OF WATER PROBLEMS IN THE WESTERN WATER PROBLEMS IN THE WESTERN UNITED STATES AND TEXAS. UNITED STATES AND TEXAS. FOR PEOPLE WHO DON’T LIVE THERE, FOR PEOPLE WHO DON’T LIVE THERE, WHAT DOES THAT LOOK LIKE ON THE WHAT DOES THAT LOOK LIKE ON THE GROUND? GROUND?>>THE DROUGHT IMPACTS CAN BE>>THE DROUGHT IMPACTS CAN BE MINOR INCONVENIENCES OR MINOR INCONVENIENCES OR POTENTIALLY DEVASTATING POTENTIALLY DEVASTATING CONSEQUENCES. CONSEQUENCES. IT CAN MEAN THINGS LIKE IN IT CAN MEAN THINGS LIKE IN INCREASED WATER RESTRICTIONS, INCREASED WATER RESTRICTIONS, WATER SAVINGS. WATER SAVINGS. YOU MIGHT NOT BE ABLE TO WASH YOU MIGHT NOT BE ABLE TO WASH YOUR CAR OR WATER YOUR LAWN. YOUR CAR OR WATER YOUR LAWN. ON A LARGER SCALE IT MEANS ON A LARGER SCALE IT MEANS IMPACTS ON FARMERS. IMPACTS ON FARMERS. IT MEANS FARMERS MIGHT NOT HAVE IT MEANS FARMERS MIGHT NOT HAVE ENOUGH WATER TO GROW CROPS AND ENOUGH WATER TO GROW CROPS AND PRODUCE REVENUE AND FOOD PRODUCE REVENUE AND FOOD PRODUCTION. PRODUCTION. IN SOME CASES IT CAN MEAN BIG IN SOME CASES IT CAN MEAN BIG IMPACTS ON LIVESTOCK. IMPACTS ON LIVESTOCK. THEY USE LANDS TO GRAZE THAT THEY USE LANDS TO GRAZE THAT MAYBE ARE NOT PRODUCING ENOUGH MAYBE ARE NOT PRODUCING ENOUGH FORAGE. FORAGE. THOSE IMPACTS CAN REALLY CASCADE THOSE IMPACTS CAN REALLY CASCADE BEYOND THOSE LOCAL REGIONS BEYOND THOSE LOCAL REGIONS BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE NOT GROWING BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE NOT GROWING AS MUCH FOOD AND FOOD PRICES ARE AS MUCH FOOD AND FOOD PRICES ARE LIKELY TO GO UP. LIKELY TO GO UP.>>IS THERE A DROUGHT THAT’S>>IS THERE A DROUGHT THAT’S ALREADY OCCURRED THAT YOU AND ALREADY OCCURRED THAT YOU AND YOUR COLLEAGUES ARE PRETTY YOUR COLLEAGUES ARE PRETTY CONFIDENT WAS INFLUENCED BY CONFIDENT WAS INFLUENCED BY CLIMATE CHANGE? CLIMATE CHANGE?>>SEVERAL.>>SEVERAL. THE CALIFORNIA DROUGHT, IT’S THE CALIFORNIA DROUGHT, IT’S PRETTY CLEAR THAT CLIMATE CHANGE PRETTY CLEAR THAT CLIMATE CHANGE PLAYED A BIG ROLE IN MAKING IT PLAYED A BIG ROLE IN MAKING IT AS INTENSE AS IT WAS. AS INTENSE AS IT WAS. RECENT DROUGHTS IN THE RECENT DROUGHTS IN THE MEDITERRANEAN AND THE MIDDLE MEDITERRANEAN AND THE MIDDLE EAST, THE DROUGHT THAT OCCURRED EAST, THE DROUGHT THAT OCCURRED RIGHT BEFORE THE SYRIAN CIVIL RIGHT BEFORE THE SYRIAN CIVIL WAR, THE DROUGHT IN CAPETOWN ALL OF THESE DOUGTROUGHTS HAVE A ALL OF THESE DOUGTROUGHTS HAVE A CLEAR SIGNAL. CLEAR SIGNAL.>>THE SAD TRUTH IS, YES, THERE>>THE SAD TRUTH IS, YES, THERE ARE SOME SPECIFIC STEPS YOU CAN ARE SOME SPECIFIC STEPS YOU CAN TAKE TO MITIGATE THE AFFECTS OF TAKE TO MITIGATE THE AFFECTS OF DROUGHTS, BUT BIG CHANGE WILL

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