Saturday, November 22, 2008

Global Trends 2025: Water shortages threaten food security, energy supply and geopolitical stability

November 21, 2008

The word on the world is out and, water-wise, it is far from encouraging. The National Intelligence Council’s (NIC) Global Trends 2025 report predicts that by the year 2025, 600 million people across 21 countries will experience cropland or freshwater scarcity.

“Among the new entrants will be Burundi, Colombia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Malawi, Pakistan, and Syria. Lack of access to stable supplies of water is reaching unprecedented proportions in many areas of the world and is likely to grow worse,” the report indicates. The potential for a downward spiral is fueled by continued rapid urbanization, population growth, increased agricultural demand and hydroelectric power generation.

Hydroelectric dams, as a source of power, are also likely to cause increased political tension as farmers downstream worry about adequate water flow for crop production. As irrigation consumes 70 percent of H2O in developing countries, the study intimately ties water supply to food security. Also of concern in the report is political security. “With water becoming more scarce in several regions, cooperation over changing water resources is likely to be increasingly difficult within and between states, straining regional relations.”

The National Intelligence Council cites water as a pivotal issue in emerging global conflicts. “For most countries, strategic rivalries are likely to revolve around trade, investment, technology innovation, and acquisition,” it portends. “However, increasing worries about resources—such as energy or even water—could easily put the focus back on territorial disputes or unresolved border issues.” The greater Middle East is a likely area for such disputes over water, the study foreshadows.

Stay tuned for ongoing coverage of the report.

Read more here.

Source: NIC Global Trends 2025