Will Cities Really Run out of Water by 2024 or is this just a scare-tactic being used by some people? According to researchers, who have issued an austere warning that the year 2024 could bring the end of fresh water for at least some of the cities in the northern hemisphere.

A study by York University has found that Iqaluit, in eastern Canada will be one of the first regions that will run dry as the increasing demand on the supply of fresh water, together with crippling climate change, means that residents are facing an extreme bleak future.

This problem has been known for some time, but while various methods have been suggested to deal with the problem of encroaching water shortages, they have only managed to push the problem by a few years; a permanent solution is yet to be found.

Andrew Medeiros, a research fellow for York University’s Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies, and his team used hydrologic modelling and climate forecasting methods for the next two decades.

Medeiros said: “The availability, quality and security of freshwater in the Canadian Arctic an increasingly pressing issue. Arctic lakes are especially vulnerable to climate change.

Extreme climates make the management of fresh water difficult, but add climate change to the mix, along with too few financial and human resources, and northern cities, such as Iqaluit could run out of fresh water,” he added.

Possible solutions include diverting water from the Apex River, which the city plans on doing to address the impending crisis, but this is also not a permanent solution, as the river’s main source of replenishment rainfall, so it can really only be used as alternative water source on a seasonal basis. Reality is that even if 10% of the lake is diverted, as per recommendations by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, this would only provide a viable after supply for an additional two years.

Even if the population remains stagnant, climate change still means the demand will outstrip the supply, and chances of the population remaining stable are very slim.

Scientists are watching the situation in Iqaluit closely as it unfolds over the next decade, as it should be an indication of the challenges that face humanity in the near future, and hopefully also of the solution to averting such a crisis.

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