H2O Shoot: Water Conflict in Asia

Area of Scanning: Security System

Author: Nicola Gaye

What is Changing?

Water scarcity will increase over the next 15 years. As ground water is increasingly used and depleted, and as monsoon rains change in nature, the single constant source of freshwater comes from the major river basins that feed Asia. These water sources are not only central to agriculture but will become more important as the region seeks to put in place alternate energy sources. Between 2000 and 2010 34% of water conflicts globally occurred in Asia. Between 2000 and 2010 there were roughly 2.5 water conflicts in Asia per year compared to 6 between 2011 and 2012. These conflicts ranged from countries cutting off water supplies to others downstream, threats to blowing up dams, to riots over lack of water and civilian deaths.


The water conflict chronology seems to indicate that the potential for conflict around water issues will rise in Asia in the next 10-15 years, as in the rest of the world. Countries that are upstream have much more influence and power than those farther downstream. Countries sharing the 4 main water basins in Asia do not have water sharing agreements in place that benefit all countries concerned. 


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