Various risk tipping points and disasters put our water supply at risk, either through causing inaccessibility, disappearing water sources, damaging infrastructure that normally ensures water supply, disrupting water from reaching people who need it, or pollute existing water sources, rendering them unsafe for consumption. In all cases, the impacts of tipping points and disasters can create or worsen water scarcity, increasing people’s vulnerability while exposing them to emerging risks related to water insecurity.
A chain reaction to ecosystem collapse
Draining our water, risking our food supply
Running on thin ice
Lagos faces increasingly severe annual flooding, exacerbated by sea level rise and subsidence. In 2021, floods again submerged vehicles and houses, displacing thousands from their homes.
During the 2020-2021 typhoon season, for the first time in 56 years, no typhoon made landfall on Taiwan, leading to one of the worst droughts in the island’s history. As reservoirs fell below 5% capacity, more than one million households and businesses had to ration water.
On 15 January 2022, the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai volcano eruption was felt across the Pacific Ocean and beyond, releasing energy equivalent to hundreds of Hiroshima nuclear explosions and creating supersonic air pressure waves that were observed from space.
In 2020, the Arctic had the second-highest air temperatures and second-lowest area of sea ice coverage on record. Temperatures reached 38.0°C in Verkhoyansk, provisionally the highest known temperature anywhere north of the Arctic Circle.
On 20 May 2020, Super Cyclone Amphan hit the Sundarbans region bordering India and Bangladesh as a Category 5 storm, with wind speeds over 260 km/h, killing over 100 people and displacing over 4.9 million.
From 11 to 20 February 2021, a powerful cold wave swept across North America. In Texas, the freezing temperatures killed at least 210 people and caused the power grid to fail, leaving 3.5 million people without electricity and heat.