Mountains are physical barriers which force air upwards to higher and colder elevation, causing it to condense to form clouds, which then provide rain and snow. For this reason, mountains around the world often receive more water than plains or lowland areas. They serve as natural “water towers”, storing water, for example in glaciers and wetlands, and releasing it via rivers and groundwater to dryer lowland areas. The current and projected changes in climate will lead to significant impacts in the availability of water resources over the coming decades in all regions. Climate change will also influence the frequency and severity of water-related hazards, including floods and droughts. Level of water stress is defined as the ratio between total freshwater withdrawn by major economic sectors and total renewable freshwater resources, after taking into account environmental water requirements.
From collection: Mountain Adaptation Outlook Series – Synthesis Report Graphics