The next world war will be fought over water, not ideology or religion

While we here in America rest secure in our homes, largely free from the scourge of want or shortage, we’ve become immune from and blissfully ignorant of what may well be the cause of future wars around the world: water. Joe Sixpack, when he turns on the faucet at his kitchen sink, doesn’t often think about what a precious commodity water is. We can do without many things- beer, chocolate, Fox News Channel- but no human will last long without water. In some parts of the world, particularly the Middle East, the scarcity of water is about to become an issue that exceeds religion and ideology in terms of its potential to foment armed conflict.

The bellwether in this scenario is Yemen, a country few Americans could find on a map if their life depended on it. Yemen’s inability to manage its growth, politics, and natural resources has left the country’s water supply in grave danger. The early returns are not good; in Yemen the conflicts are no longer about ideology or religion; they’re about water. In that sense, Yemen represents what the future holds for the Middle East, as regimes who have mismanaged their natural resources will soon find themselves unable to supply the water their populations require in sufficient quantity.

The next wars in the Middle East won’t be religious conflicts; they’ll be about survival.

(Read the full post at What Would Jack Do?)

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Jack Cluth


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  • Most previous wars have evolved over competition for resources as well, with religion and cultural differences the excuses offered to enlist the masses.

    To date, I’d say oil has eclipsed water, but times they are a changin’.

  • Risk of water wars rises with scarcity

    Almost half of humanity will face water scarcity by 2030 and strategists from Israel to Central Asia prepare for strife.

    Chris Arsenault Last Modified: 26 Aug 2012 09:47

    The author Mark Twain once remarked that “whisky is for drinking; water is for fighting over” and a series of reports from intelligence agencies and research groups indicate the prospect of a water war is becoming increasingly likely.

    In March, a report from the office of the US Director of National Intelligence said the risk of conflict would grow as water demand is set to outstrip sustainable current supplies by 40 per cent by 2030.

    “These threats are real and they do raise serious national security concerns,” Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, said after the report’s release.

    Internationally, 780 million people lack access to safe drinking water, according to the United Nations. By 2030, 47 per cent of the world’s population will be living in areas of high water stress, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Environmental Outlook to 2030 report.

    Some analysts worry that wars of the future will be fought over blue gold, as thirsty people, opportunistic politicians and powerful corporations battle for dwindling resources.

    more at Al Jazeera

    I remember years ago SP predicting that this would happen, hate it when he is right. 😉

  • Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

    One of the few things modern technology may be able to do is clean up a lot of polluted water.
    That may help, but the decrease in available water due to Global Warming is a bigger issue.

    The water in our Western rivers is severely over-subscribed: LA & parts of Northern California, Arizona, Texas are all ‘entitled’ to more water than the rivers carry. I know that as Texas watches the Rio Grande decrease, they are casting eyes on the aquifer that feeds Colorado’s San Luis Valley.

    We need a way to desalinate large quantities of ocean water without requiring large amount of energy input. So far, science hasn’t figured out how to do that. It can be done cheaply in small quantity or in larger,energy-expensive quantity.

  • War over water rights? Like this is a new thing? It’s not!
    For the last 30 years, Israel has been steadily stealing water from the Palestinians. Who now have to ration water which was once plentiful (relatively speaking) to them.
    Going back to our own fractured (distorted) history, water has been an issue going back well over 140 years.
    Historically, water for humans (and our animal friends), has been an issue for thousands of years.
    I guess it’s a gauge of how easily distracted we are as a political species.
    Which thusly illustrates how hopeless we are as an active, effective agent of progress.
    We seem to revel in re-fighting battles of old; time and again…

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