Stuff discusses how lakes and rivers will become drier, increasingly infectious and toxic as a result of climate change.
By dragging our feet on climate action, we increasingly condemn our beloved lakes and rivers to a future of salmonella contamination, algal blooms, species extinctions and drying out, a new report warns.
Our Freshwater 2020, produced by the Ministry for the Environment and Statistics NZ, is a stark reminder that the already-threatened health of our waterways rests on our ability to urgently shift away from fossil fuels.
Even if emissions stay at historically low levels, temperatures will continue to rise in the coming decades, due to the lag between releasing greenhouse gas and the effects on our atmosphere, seas and waterways.
As the climate warms, rain storms will intensify, snowfall will decrease, glaciers will melt, soils will dry out and the sea level will rise – each affecting our lakes and rivers.