Water for the recovery of the climate – A new water paradigm
Presentation of the book "Water for the recovery of the climate: a new water paradigm" freely available on the website of waterparadigm.org
The circulation of water in nature takes place through the large and small water cycles. Humanity, through its activities and systematic transformation of natural land into cultured land, accelerates the runoff of rainwater from land. Limiting evaporation and the infiltration of water into the soil decreases the supply of water to the small water cycle. The equilibrium of the water balance in the small water cycle is thus disturbed and it gradually starts to break down over land.
If there is insufficient water in the soil, on its surface and in plants, immense flows of solar energy cannot be transformed into the latent heat of water evaporation but are instead changed into sensible heat. The surface of the ground soon overheats, and as a result, a breakdown in the supply of water from the large water cycle arises over the affected land. Local processes over huge areas inhabited and exploited by human beings are changed into global processes and with processes that occur without the assistance of human beings; together they create the phenomenon known as global climate change. The part of global climate change caused by human activities then is largely based on the drainage of water from the land, the consequent rise in temperature differences triggering off mechanisms which cause a rise in climatic extremes. The disruption of the small water cycle is accompanied by growing extremes in the weather, a gradual drop in groundwater reserves, more frequent flooding, longer periods of drought and an increase in the water shortage in the region.
The part of climatic change which is the result of human activities (draining of a region), can be reversed through systematic human activity (the watering of a region). The watering of land can be achieved through saturation of the small water cycle over land by ensuring comprehensive conservation of rainwater and enabling its infiltration and evaporation. This can help achieve the renewal of the small water cycle over a region and fundamentally change the trend of changing climatic conditions: it can—to reverse the trend of regional warming—temper extreme weather events and ensure a growth in water reserves in the territory.
The renewal of the small water cycle over an area, however, depends not only on the extent to which the area has been damaged but also on a number of other factors. In the case of Slovakia, we can expect visible results relatively soon (10 to 20 years) after implementation of these measures. The financial costs of these specific measures are moderate sums which can be allocated from state, public and private budgets. Support for the implementation of far-reaching measures should be linked pro rata to each 1 m3 of reservoir volume built in the ground or to anti-erosion measures carried out. The implementation of water conservation measures should, until the renewal of the small water cycle and the maximalization of a stable water balance in a region, replace previous investment measures, which only served to accelerate the runoff of water from a region.
The conservation of rainwater on land "in situ" and the conducting away only of the natural surplus of water in a region is "condicio sine qua non"—a condition essential for ensuring environmental security, global stability and the sustenance of economic growth. Fulfilling these conditions should be of interest to each individual and each community. This is the first time in the history of human civilization when the impact of mankind's activities on the water cycle and the decrease of amount of water in it will have to be evaluated. The statement of the Srí Lankan king, Parakramabahu the Great (1153-1186)—"Not even a single raindrop should be allowed to flow into the sea without it first having been used for the benefit of the people..." —is the best summing up of the new water paradigm, a statement which, in the coming decades, should become a slogan for mankind calling for the preservation of civilization.