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The emerging threats and risks related to water challenges

The future threats and risks related to water challenges (shortages, poor water quality and floods) have been assessed by the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). In a new report entitled ‘Global Water Security’ the ODNI states that, while wars over water are unlikely within the next ten years, water challenges are likely to increase the risk of instability and increase geo-political risks.

The report is based on a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) requested by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to assess the impact of global water issues on US national security interests over the next 30 years; however, it provides information useful to business continuity and enterprise risk managers making long term decisions about facility location.

The harsh reality identified in the report is that between now and 2040, fresh water availability will not keep up with demand without more effective management of water resources. Water problems will hinder the ability of key countries to produce food and generate energy, posing a risk to global food markets and restricting economic growth. As a result of demographic and economic development pressures, North Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia will face major challenges coping with water problems.

The report concludes that a water-related state-on-state conflict is unlikely during the next 10 years; however, as water shortages become more acute beyond the next 10 years, water in shared basins will increasingly be used as leverage; and the use of water as a weapon or to further terrorist objectives will become more likely.

A full copy of the report is available online at http://www.dni.gov/nic/ICA_Global Water Security.pdf

•Date: 29th March 2012 • US/World •Type: Article • Topic: Operational risk management

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