As the world faces possible water scarcities in the next two to three decades, the U.S. intelligence community has already portrayed a grim scenario for the foreseeable future: ethnic conflicts, regional tensions, political instability and even mass killings.
During the next 10 years, “many countries important to the United States will almost certainly experience water problems – shortages, poor water quality, or floods – that will contribute to the risk of instability and state failure, and increased regional tensions,” stated a National Intelligence Estimate released last March.
And in July, Chris Kojm, chairman of the National Intelligence Council, predicted that by 2030, nearly half of the world’s population (currently at more than 7 billion) will live in areas of severe water stress, increasing the likelihood of mass killings.
The New York Times quoted Timothy Snyder, a professor of history at Yale University, as saying at a recent symposium that an “ecological panic, I am afraid, will lead to mass killings in the decades to come”.
But Dr. Upmanu Lall, director of Columbia University’s Water Centre, has mixed feelings about potential conflicts over water, one of the world’s key natural resources necessary for survival.
“I am not sure I can project mass killings as a consequence (of water scarcities),” he told IPS.
And, he said, he does not expect transnational wars or conflicts over water either, “but I do expect that competition within some major countries such as India could lead to significant internal strife and the growth of terrorism and sectarian conflict”. However, “avoiding this future is feasible if we work to act on it today,” he added
A future doomed to suffer intense water scarcities is one of several subjects under discussion at ...