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      The Impacts of Covid-19 Pandemic and Weather Conditions on Water Environment, a Case Study in Istanbul and London/South-east England

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          Abstract

          The Covid-19 Pandemic affects not only populations around the world but also the environment and natural resources. Lockdowns and restricted new lifestyles have had wide ranging impacts on the environment (e.g., on air quality in cities). Although hygiene and disinfection procedures and precautions are effective ways to protect people from Covid-19, they have important consequences for water usage and resources especially given the increasing impacts of climate change on rainfall patterns, water use and resources. Climate change and public health issues may compound one another and so we used a DPSIR Framework to scope the main factors that may interact to affect water use and resources (in the form of reservoirs) using evidence from Istanbul, Turkey with some discussion of the comparative situation in the UK and elsewhere. We modified initial views on the framework to account for the regional, city and community level experiences. We noted water consumption in Istanbul has been increasing over the last two decades (except, it appears, in times of very low rainfall/drought); that there were increases in water consumption in the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic; and, despite some increase in rainfall, water levels in reservoirs appeared to decrease during lockdowns (for a range of reasons). We also noted, through a new simple way of visualising the data, that a low resource capacity might be recurring every 6 or 7 years in Istanbul. We made no attempt in this paper to quantify the relative contribution that climate change, population growth etc are making to water consumption and reservoir levels as we were focused here on scoping those social, environmental and economic factors that appear to play a role in potential water stress and on developing a DPSIR Framework that could aid both subsequent quantitative studies and the development of policy and adaptive management options for Istanbul and other large complex conurbations (such as London and south-east England). If there are periodic water resource issues and temperatures rise as expected in climate projections with an accompanying increase in the duration of hot spells the subsequent additional stress on water systems might make managing future public health emergencies, such as a pandemic, even more difficult.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          UCL Open: Environment Preprint
          UCL Press
          12 August 2021
          Affiliations
          [1 ] Department of Earth Sciences, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK
          Author notes
          Article
          10.14324/111.444/000087.v1

          This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

          All data generated or analysed during this study are included in this published article (and its supplementary information files).

          Earth & Environmental sciences

          water, covid-19, climate, patterns of use, water management, adaptive management, Climate change, Water resources, Environmental science

          Comments

          Date: 01 September 2021

          Handling Editor: Dr Pam Berry

          This article is a preprint article and has not been peer-reviewed. It is under consideration following submission to UCL Open: Environment for open peer review.

          Handling Editor comments:

          The topic of  water usage during Covid-19 and impacts of climate change is important and current, thus the article is timely. However, as it stands at version 1 it is rather descriptive; there is no clear indication of exactly how some methods were undertaken (e.g. the last paragraph of p6 in the pdf). Also, some more /different analysis would help support or clarify some of the arguments. For example:

          1. Fig. 8 links higher temperatures to low reservoir levels, despite having established a link for reservoir levels with rainfall, so are temperature and rainfall correlated? This is important when examining scenarios and also when deciphering what is driving reservoir levels – most likely an interaction of climate and socio-economics and demography
          2. The different patterns of domestic and business water usage is important. It would be helpful, if possible to separate these out in total consumption figures.
          3. Careful reasoning is also need in emergent issues, as p22 suggest more periods of dry weather and yet p14 it is only RCP8.6 in the latter part of the century that is projected to be drier.
          4. Discussion (especially the first part) would benefit from synthesis round key arguments and findings.

           

          All in all I think this paper needs a more analytical approach, framed round certain arguments and hypotheses.

          2021-09-01 11:13 UTC
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          2021-09-01 11:13 UTC
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          2021-09-01 11:05 UTC
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