May 27, 2015 10:02 UTC

learningenglish

Water Problems in a World of Insecurity

Watering hole for South Sudan refugees in Jamam, Upper Nile State
Watering hole for South Sudan refugees in Jamam, Upper Nile State


Download this story as a PDF

This is the VOA Special English Agriculture Report.

A new American intelligence report says water-related problems will likely increase tensions around the world in the next ten years. These problems include water shortages, poor water quality and floods.

The report says the problems will increase the risk of instability and the failure of governments. However, countries are seen as unlikely to go to war over water. The report says water tensions have historically led to more water-sharing agreements than violent conflicts.

But beyond ten years, it warns that some governments could use water as a weapon to pressure others. And water could also be used to "further terrorist objectives."

The report is called an Intelligence Community Assessment on Global Water Security. It looks at possible effects of water problems on United States national security interests over the next thirty years. It says the areas that will be most affected by water problems are North Africa, the Middle East and South Asia.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the report last Thursday on World Water Day. The National Intelligence Council wrote the report based on a National Intelligence Estimate she requested a year ago.

HILLARY CLINTON: "Reliable access to water is essential for feeding the hungry, running the industries that promote jobs, generating the energy that fuels national growth, and certainly it is central when we think about how climate change will affect future generations."

The report says water-related problems could distract countries from working with the United States on important policy goals. But it also predicts an increased demand for American aid and expert help to solve those problems. That demand could create "opportunities for leadership" and influence.

The report says, "Water shortages, poor water quality, and floods by themselves are unlikely to result in state failure." But these could combine with poverty, social tensions, environmental problems, poor leadership and weak governments to produce social disorder. And that combination could cause state failure.

The report predicts that from now through twenty forty, "water shortages and pollution probably will harm the economic performance of important trading partners." During the next ten years, it says, the loss of groundwater supplies in some agricultural areas will create a risk to national and global food markets. These shortages will be a result of poor management.

Agriculture uses about seventy percent of the world's freshwater. The report says technology that reduces the amount of water needed to grow crops will offer the best defense against shortages.

And that's the VOA Special English Agriculture Report. You can learn more about the world's water problems at voaspecialenglish.com.  I'm Jim Tedder.

___

Contributing: Christopher Cruise and Steve Baragona

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 3
    Next 
by: tiantian zhao
04/26/2012 9:18 PM
Water shortage will also caused by pollution,waste,etc.It will make serious influence on next generation.We should make effort to against it.


by: sihemhotmail
04/14/2012 10:07 AM
the problem of freshwater is universal the best way is try to teach future generations _i mean our children_ not to waste water


by: Yoshi
04/08/2012 11:54 PM
How unfair the climate conditions between the countries are!


by: celestin kombo
04/03/2012 7:05 AM
I'm going to thank the VOA for this nice article.We never stop to talk about water around the world.Water shortage, poor quality water, foods.In africa, Europ, America Asia etc;;;;;;;;.Nothing in world can't be done without it. As well as it important his great, goverment of each countries much interest to educate their people to how man can manage it.This is importance for now and future generation,Best regards


by: BIJU.P.Y.
04/01/2012 4:59 AM
Water is the basic issue everywhere. It is sometimes said that the third world war is going to be waged on the issue of water. Unless we wish this individual fighting gets a mass manner, we should ensure the effective use of water across the globe. Wasting of water should be made a punishable offence. Thank you.


by: Bozkurt Türk
03/30/2012 6:41 AM
Hi everyone. This video affected me. Water is very important matter in North Africa and Middle Eart. But anyone on earth don't mind of this subject. As if fresh water is a unlimited spring for us. Thus we waste it unconsciously. The God give brain and intelligence everyone on this trouble. Bye...


by: sxwx
03/29/2012 8:31 PM
Certainly sure this is a biggest problem in the world,but
people only notice the oil and money.


by: claudio
03/29/2012 7:18 PM
I respectfullly agree with all the pros and cons presented in this article.
att,
claudio - Rio de Janeiro


by: Alex Smith
03/29/2012 1:45 PM
Water is like mother.


by: Winsor
03/27/2012 7:34 PM
African people have to do a better job educating their people. This is not water people should be drinking. Because it will get them sick, and most of all kill them.

Comments page of 3
    Next 

Learn with The News

  • Audio US Military Searching for Boat People in Southeast Asia

    The U.S. military has begun flights off the west coast of Malaysia. Military aircraft are searching for thousands of people who are believed to be trapped on unsafe wooden boats. Last week, Indonesia and Malaysia announced they would temporarily permit the boat people to land. More

  • Audio Taiwan Offers Peace Plan for South China Sea

    It calls for cooperation among governments that claim all or part of the South China Sea, which is said to be rich in oil, natural gas and fisheries. But the plan is not likely to produce a reaction outside of Taiwan because country has no diplomatic ties with the countries that claim the waters. More

  • Audio Iraq Launches Operation to Recapture Anbar

    An Iraqi government television broadcast announced the move Tuesday. Also in the news, Al-Shabab attacks Kenya police near Somali border; Spy trial of Washington Post reporterJason Rezaian begins in Iran; Recovery efforts continue in Texas and Mexico after strong storms over the weekend. More

  • Audio Tensions Rise in Hong Kong Before Tiananmen Anniversary

    Every year people in Hong Kong gather to remember the June 4 anniversary of the Chinese government crackdown at Tiananmen Square. Usually they also give thanks for their freedoms. But this year, some say people in Hong Kong themselves are feeling increasing pressure from the Chinese government. More

  • This helicopter view shows how close the Statue of Liberty is to Ellis Island. Arriving immigrants would sail past "Lady Liberty" on their way to Ellis Island.

    Video Exploring America’s Immigration Story

    For years, the first stop for millions of immigrants to the United States was the Ellis Island immigration center in New York Harbor. A new museum exhibit tells about the people who entered the country before and after the center closed. | As It Is More

Featured Stories

  • Audio Brain Remembers Language Better If You Sing It

    If you have a long list of vocabulary words to learn, you might want to write them into a familiar song. Researchers at the University of Edinburgh studied the relationship between music and remembering a foreign language. After the tests were over, the singers came out on top. And it's more fun! More

  • Video New Tool Maps Buildings' Energy Efficiency

    Architects, engineers and building supervisors will soon be able to quickly collect information that once took weeks to measure and process. Scientists have developed a device to gather information about building interiors – the design and exact measurements of a building. More

  • Audio Guide to 2016 Campaign: Money and Super PAC

    Raising money is an important part of any election in America. Candidates for the 2016 race for the White House and Congress are busy lining up dollars to fund their elections. VOA Learning English helps explain how the campaign finance systems work in the U.S. More

  • Audio Hold Your Horses!

    Horses are part of the history and romance of the Old American West. These days, they are popular for sport and entertainment. So, it is easy to understand why we Americans use so many horse expressions. Learn some of the most common and try to answer our horse riddle! More

  • Audio Everyday Grammar - Introducing Conditionals

    In everyday conversation, English speakers often talk about things that are not true. Or, they talk about things that only happen if something else happens. Learn how to correctly use these conditional forms in English. If you write to us, we will let you know if it is correct. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner blog
Confessions of an English Learner blog

 

 

 

Tell us About Our Programs