October 02, 2014 02:28 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

  • A pro-democracy activist shouts slogans on a street near the government headquarters where protesters have made camp in Hong Kong, Oct. 1, 2014.

    Audio Protesters Call for Hong Kong Chief to Step Down

    Also at least 10 people were killed on Wednesday when shells hit a school playground and a minibus in Donetsk, Ukraine. And, U.S.-led airstrikes hit near a key Syrian border town for a second day, as Kurdish fighters defend the area from Islamic State militants. | In the News More

  • South Koreans march during a rally 100 days after the ferry Sewol sunk in Seoul, South Korea, July 24, 2014.

    Audio Ferry Investigation Divides South Korea

    South Korean lawmakers have agreed to launch a new investigation into the deadly passenger boat accident in April. But many people are not happy with the measure. Other citizens protest a second investigation. More

  • Ebola Dallas Hospital

    Audio First Ebola Case Reported in US

    An unidentified person has brought Ebola into the U.S. from Liberia. This person is being treated. Those he or she came into contact with are being closely watched. More

  • Mercedes Garcia of El Salvador fills in the application for her new ?green card? while waiting in a predawn line outside the Immigration and Naturalization Service office on Wednesday, March 20, 1996 in Los Angeles. Wednesday was the deadline to apply for

    Audio US 'Green Card' Lottery Registration Begins

    The US government’s Diversity Immigrant Visa Program makes 50,000 visas available every year. The program is designed for people from countries that have “historically low rates of immigration to the United States.” | As It Is More

  • Carter Elections

    Photogallery Former US President Jimmy Carter Turns 90

    He won the Nobel Peace Prize and served as Georgia’s governor and as a Navy officer. Former peanut farmer, former nuclear engineer now works as a human rights activist. Liked and disliked around the world. He has written 26 books and is writing more. | As It Is More

Featured Stories

  • Children exercise during a weight-losing summer camp in Shenyang, Liaoning province, August 3, 2009. Obesity is becoming one of the biggest threats to children's health, a nationwide investigation has warned, pointing out that students' physical indicator

    Audio Physically Fit Children Do Better in School

    Several studies found that children who had physical activity on a usual basis improved in school. The children also learn best if physical activity is included during class or before. | Health Report More

  • Union and Confederates troops clashed on July 21, 1861 near Manassas Junction, Virginia.

    Audio Manassas Ends Hope for a Short War

    Many northerners wanted Union forces to seize the new Confederate capital and quickly end the rebellion. Pro-Union newspapers urged, "On to Richmond!" But the North soon learned it needed a better trained army to fight the Confederacy. More

  • Singer Lorde performs at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada May 18, 2014.    REUTERS/Steve Marcus (UNITED STATES  - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)  (BILLBOARDAWARDS-SHOW) - RTR3PR0U

    Audio Lorde Releases Single for 'Hunger Games' Soundtrack

    The 17-year-old New Zealander is curating the soundtrack. The album is to be released a few days before 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part One' opens November 21st. | American mosaic More

  • The US is a nation of immigrants. But China is a nation of ... Chinese.

    Audio US, China: A Look at Immigration and Migration

    The U.S. and China have the two largest economies filled with opportunities and jobs. In 2013, a Pew study found that 45 million international migrants lived in the United States. Yet only “850,000 people living in China were born in other countries.” More

  • Artist conception of ISEE-3 in space.  (ISEE-3 Reboot Project)

    Video Citizen-Scientists Take Control of Old Satellite

    Former NASA engineer helps group get information from a satellite that was launched in the 1970s and had been silent for years; giving an old satellite a new mission. | As It Is More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner BlogConfessions of an English Learner Blog

Tell us About Our Programs