April 24, 2014 18:43 UTC

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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
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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.

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Contributing: Christopher Cruise and Steve Baragona

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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.

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