Transboundary waters

January 20, 2010 at 2:00 am Leave a comment

I’ve alerted you before to a potential future of conflicts over dwindling water resources. Check out my posts here and here if you missed out. And now a new report by the Pacific Institute (prepared for the United Nations) looks at the growing likelihood of cat fights over shared water resources.  You can download the report here but basically it says:

  • global climate change will increase the risk of conflict over shared international freshwater resources
  • existing agreements and international principles for sharing water (there are around 300) will not adequately handle the strain of future pressures
  • freshwater resources are unevenly and irregularly distributed, with some regions of the world extremely short of water, and political borders and boundaries rarely coinciding with borders of watersheds
  • 40% of the world’s population relies on shared water resources that cross political borders
  • regions that will experience the effects of climate change but are governed by weak international agreements are: Mekong River in southeastern Asia, the Colorado River, the Guarani Aquifer in South America and the Nile River in northeastern Africa.

The report calls for either establishing agreements in transboundary water areas or amending existing treaties to incorporate climate change. There is a long history of disputes over water resources. You can see a chronology of water conflict here.

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