A U.S. intelligence assessment, released Thursday, points out what many have been saying for a long time: The water wars may go international.
California’s water wars, among others, are fought in the courts. The intelligence assessment predicts a darker scenario: “Beyond 2022,” The Associated Press reports, “the use of water as a weapon of war or a tool of terrorism will become more likely, particularly in South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa.”
Water is easy to steal if the thief has the resources. An example: A lot of the water in the northern United States comes from Canada. If relations between the U.S. and Canada soured, Canada conceivably could interrupt or divert the flows and defend those interruptions with armed force. That is unlikely, but elsewhere in the world, it could be a possibility.
While in the United States, we enjoy a relatively clean water supply, in other areas of the world, supplies of clean fresh water are vulnerable. These water supplies could be poisoned with terrifying effect if a country’s enemies decided to try to kill as many as possible through a water supply.
Climate change is gradually moving the weather around — making droughts happen where they have been rare before. A good example of this is Texas, where lack of rain has created hardships for farmers and ranchers. People aren’t dying of thirst in Texas, of course, but we regularly see situations in other countries where people suffer greatly because of drought.
As world populations increase, they do so mainly in cities, and many of those cities have terrible water conditions. Their water is dirty going in, and even dirtier going out. An enemy could create a water crisis just by wrecking already fragile waterworks.
As if people in water-short areas didn’t have enough to worry about, water wars could be around the corner.