Ban Ki-moon warns of the coming water wars

JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images Imagine the following scenario:  Water, the source of human survival, enters the global marketplace and political arena. Corporate giants, private investors, and corrupt governments vie for control of our dwindling supply, prompting protests, lawsuits, and revolutions from citizens fighting for the right to survive. Wars of the future will be fought over ...

596908_bankimoon_25.jpg
596908_bankimoon_25.jpg

JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images

Imagine the following scenario: 

Water, the source of human survival, enters the global marketplace and political arena. Corporate giants, private investors, and corrupt governments vie for control of our dwindling supply, prompting protests, lawsuits, and revolutions from citizens fighting for the right to survive. Wars of the future will be fought over water, not oil. Past civilizations have collapsed from poor water management. Can the human race survive?"

JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images

Imagine the following scenario: 

Water, the source of human survival, enters the global marketplace and political arena. Corporate giants, private investors, and corrupt governments vie for control of our dwindling supply, prompting protests, lawsuits, and revolutions from citizens fighting for the right to survive. Wars of the future will be fought over water, not oil. Past civilizations have collapsed from poor water management. Can the human race survive?”

This is the plot synopsis for an upcoming documentary film Blue Gold: World Water Wars, but it could just as well be a quote from Ban Ki-moon at today’s World Economic Forum panel, “Time is Running Out for Water.” The U.N. chief painted an equally sobering picture of the potential effects of a global water shortage:

The consequences for humanity are grave. Water scarcity threatens economic and social gains and is a potent fuel for wars and conflict.”

It’s not just the U.N. that is warning of an impending crisis. A report on climate change and conflict by the NGO International Alert highlights water shortages and their potentially aggravating effects on violent conflicts around the world. Although the report outlines some pretty worrisome consequences of water shortages, conflict need not lead to war, an author of the report tells the Times of London, but can result in opportunities for collaboration and innovation. For more information on freshwater resources around the world, check out the Pacific Institute’s Web site.

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