A GLOBAL ACTION PLAN FOR THE RESTORATION OF NATURAL WATER CYCLES AND CLIMATE
Ing. Michal Kravčík,CSc. / Jan Lambert
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This is a document intended to guide people from individuals to the national level, on addressing climate change through the restoration of short, or small water cycles, thus increasing the production potential and biodiversity of all continents through the introduction of various measures of rainwater retention.
Excerpt from: 1. WHY IS A GLOBAL ACTION PLAN (GAP) NEEDED?
A global plan of climate restoration of the small water cycle of regional landscapes, with a goal of decreasing floods, drought, natural disasters, and other undesirable climate changes, and increasing the biodiversity and production potential of all continents, through the introduction of various measures of rainwater retention suitable for all areas of human habitation and usage.
Conclusion and Action Needed (p 4)
For climate change due to anthropogenic drainage and vegetation depletion, the major necessary intervention is to restore water in dry, damaged ecosystems, a measure which can be achieved with rainwater retention and soil erosion control. Consistent and widespread restoration of native vegetation and soil fertility will bring about restoration of the natural water cycle. It will also achieve increases in food production, fresh water supplies, and biodiversity, while mitigating the occurrence of severe weather, and decreasing the volumes of storm water flowing down rivers, thus ultimately decreasing sea levels. This can be accomplished; it is only necessary to mobilize stakeholders, from local and regional to national, international, and global levels.
Despite the above-described realities of the deterioration of water cycles, and that water as a resource is extremely critical to many public investments, current efforts are insufficiently responsive to the nature and dynamics of the ecological processes taking place. Hydrological cycles have been negatively affected in many types of forested, agricultural, and urban landscapes, as well as in the transportation and industrial infrastructure and other developed areas. These intensive human-caused effects accelerated in the twentieth century, especially in recent decades.
Unfortunately, a large proportion of urban infrastructure (such as impervious surfaces and storm sewer systems) is encouraging the continued drying of the landscape ecology, which not only compromises the balance of water, but also causes an increase in urban heat islands; subsequent changes in rainfall distribution indicate an altered local and regional climate. The loss of water into rivers also contributes to rising sea levels. By not taking these effects into consideration, high level decision makers and global stakeholders are operating under the inaccurate concept that all climate change can be mitigated solely through the reduction of greenhouse gases.
Forecasts suggest that stable hydrological regimes in landscape ecosystems are the key determining factor of economic, social, and cultural welfare of all human communities, from local to global scale. Such landscapes are far more equipped to absorb rainwater and withstand extreme weather such as intense rains and drought. Such a desirable state can be achieved only by ecosystem improvements that strengthen biodiversity and soil production potential through improved hydrological regimes.
Current knowledge of hydrology in ecosystems worldwide, indicates that without a fundamental change in land and rainwater management, especially in urban areas, the risk of extreme floods and droughts will rise in coming years. Problems of overheating and drying will increase exponentially if we do not stop the perennial surface drainage of landscapes. The solution is to restore degraded landscapes by means of natural regeneration of soil moisture to benefit small water cycles. This will create favorable conditions for prevention of floods, droughts, and other natural disasters.
Massive rainwater retention is necessary to achieve a state of sustainable life on our planet; it is time to mobilize politicians together with citizens. The challenge is to make urgently needed decisions to achieve an integrated, holistic system of rainwater management. By doing so, in addition to preventing floods and droughts, we will also strengthen biodiversity, increase soil fertility and productivity, and restore a more healthful climate.