Climate change raises a number of concerns, but perhaps the most pressing issue is our supply of drinking water.
The lack of water security has already led to conflicts around the world and experts warn that these altercations could escalate into large-scale civil uprisings and even nuclear war.
Global Water Partnership (GWP) Executive Secretary Dario Soto Abril says water security should be a matter of national security.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, he said: “Obviously we always talk about water security in terms of having enough access for livelihoods, for economic development, and for agriculture. and ecosystem, but water security is a critical issue of national concern.
“The lack of water security creates economic uncertainty because water is linked to agriculture and manufacturing. So lack of water would reduce the economic contribution of the country to the region.
He warned that a lack of clean water could lead to “civil uprisings which will create conflicts within the country” and have huge impacts on largely populated areas.
He added, “If people don’t have water security in the region, they will most likely come to Europe or the United States. This is another reason why water security is linked to national security.
He pointed to an example of a recent conflict that took place in Ethiopia in 2020, after Egyptian hackers launched a cyber attack on Ethiopian water supply systems.
On the pirates’ Facebook page, they voiced Egyptian opposition to the Ethiopian Renaissance Grand Dam on the Blue Nile.
According to the Pacific Institute, the attack was carried out as the reservoir behind the dam is being filled despite the lack of agreement between Egypt and Ethiopia.
Mr Abril added: “We also saw how the conflict in Syria, during one of the sieges of Damascus, the water was cut off where civilians were left without water for weeks.”
A similar conflict threatened to unfold last month between India and Pakistan, two nuclear powers with a decades-long rivalry.
The two countries share the Indus River, which flows from the Himalayan region in India to Pakistan.
As diplomats from the two countries met to discuss the renewal of a decades-old water treaty, a major Indian news channel called on India to threaten to cut off the flow of the river to Pakistan.
The anchor said: “The Indus waters give India a huge strategic advantage over Pakistan. 80% of Pak’s agricultural fields depend on these Indian-controlled waters.
“India can engineer floods and droughts in Pakistan. Why was New Delhi reluctant to exercise this power?
With both countries possessing around 100 nuclear weapons, cutting off the flow of a major river could have disastrous consequences.
Mr. Abril continued: “There is always a potential that countries can militarize water, there is always tension.
“There are elements of conflict here, India-Pakistan, Ethiopia and other countries, China could potentially control the Mekong basin.”
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