The United Nations warned Tuesday that more than five billion people may have difficulty accessing water by 2050. It urged leaders to take the initiative at the COP26 summit.
According to a UN report, 3.6 billion people have no access to water for at most one month each year.
Petteri Taalas, chief WMO, stated that "We must wake up to the looming crisis in water"
The State of Climate Services 2021 Water Report is just weeks ahead of COP26, the UN Climate Change Conference that will be held in Glasgow between October 31 and November 12.
WMO stated that water levels on the ground, subsurface and in snow and ice have fallen at a rate one centimeter each year over the past 20 years.
(The State of Climate Services 2021: Water).
Greenland and Antarctica are the most affected, however, many lower-populated locations at lower latitudes are suffering significant water loss in areas that have traditionally provided water supply, according to the WMO.
According to the agency, water security is at risk because only 0.5 percent on Earth has access to fresh water.
Taalas stated that rising temperatures are leading to global and regional precipitation shifts, which lead to shifts in rainfall patterns, agricultural seasons, and a major impact upon food security, human health, and wellbeing.
"We can't wait"
Similarly, water-related hazards have been increasing in frequency over 20 years.
Flood-related disasters have increased by 134 percent since 2000 compared to the past two decades.
Taalas stated that 7 percent more humidity is now in the atmosphere due to current warming. He also said that flooding is also a contributing factor.
The WMO stated that most of the flood-related deaths or economic losses occurred in Asia. There, river flood warning systems need strengthening.
There has been a 30% increase in drought events over 2000. Africa is the most affected continent.
Taalas urged the countries attending COP26 to up their game.
He stated that while most world leaders spoke about climate change as a significant threat to humanity's welfare, their actions did not match their words.
He stated, "We can't wait for decades to begin acting."
"This is also a message to countries like China, which have said they want to be carbon neutral by 2060, but don't have any concrete plans for the next decade."
He stated that the top priority of COP26 was to increase ambitions in climate mitigation. However, more work was needed on climate adaptations as the negative trend for weather patterns in the future decades and into the future will continue when it comes down to melting glaciers and sea level rising.