Water

Water Politics

Fifty years ago, who would have thought that water, would become a valuable commodity like it is now; valuable enough to create serious conflicts between or within nations? The politics that’s affected by the scarcity of water is called water politics or hydro politics.

According to a recent report released by United Nations, the amount of drinking water that’s available to us is shrinking dramatically. The same report compares different countries around the world, according to their availability of water and its quality. It ranges from 500,000 cm3 in Iceland and French Guiana to 100 cm3 in the Gaza Strip and Kuwait. The report also warns that these numbers are changing everyday and clean water is rapidly becoming scarce. Currently, 40% of world’s population does not have access to clean water for their minimal hygiene. As mentioned above, this situation is yet to get worse. This number is predicted to decrease further by 30% in the next twenty years. As you can imagine, this would put countries like Canada, Norway, Colombia and Peru to become powerful with the abundant water resources in their regions.

Water Politics by Region

North America and Europe:

United States with 2000 cubic meter per person per year leads the world’s water consumption among all the developed countries. Second to that is Canada with around 1,600 cubic meter per person for a year. This amount is twice as much as what’s being used in France and thrice as much as the average use in German.

South Asia:

In South Asian countries such as India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka the fresh water resources are quickly being used up and also being polluted. Especially in India, according to a survey done by G B Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development, Gangotri glacier, that provides the Hindu river with water, is drawing back hundreds of feet every year. Two countries, India, and Bangladesh depend on Ganges to both support human survival and their vegetation.

According to a report released by Gordon Young from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, the tendency to control water resources, such as Indus River that runs between India and Pakistan, might develop into a main source of conflict in the future.

Middle East:

Due to its geographical location and climatic conditions, water has always been a valuable commodity in the Middle East. Yes! It has become a commodity in the Middle East long time ago! In the recent years, because of its high demand, water crisis is escalating. Even with many existing agreements between countries, the strategic importance of water has elevated in the region. In many nations in that region, water plays an important role in national security issues and policy makings.

Latin America:

It is considered to be one of the most water rich areas in the world yet there is a water crisis! Why? According to a report released by United Nations Development Program in 2006, “The scarcity at the heart of the global water crisis is rooted in power, poverty and inequality, not in physical availability.” In Latin America, poor people are more affected by high water bills and spend much time collecting clean water. Therefore, they have less access to clean water, not because there is water scarcity in the region, but because they do not have enough money.

As you can see from the above details, almost all the parts of our planet are affected by water scarcity! Because of its importance for human survival, it plays an important role in politics between countries and regions.

Water politics

might reach its peak in the next few decades causing unexpected turbulences in political world around the globe.

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