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The Importance of Water and its Relation to Global Conflict


Map of the Globe

In the developed world, many people don’t give much thought to the water they use for drinking, preparing food and bathing. In underdeveloped parts of the world, 1.7 billion people have access to clean water today due to joint efforts between government and nongovernmental organizations that started back in 1992. Still, every year, millions of people lose their lives to largely preventable diseases caused by a lack of access to clean water and proper sanitation. This includes 5,000 children who die every day due to diarrheal diseases such as cholera and dysentery caused by contaminated drinking and cooking water. And today, an estimated 880 million people still don’t have access to clean water and 2.7 billion don’t have adequate sanitation.

In October, scientists at the Joint Research Center (JRC) of the European Commission published research identifying hotspots around the world in which competition for shared and limited water resources may cause future conflict.

“The scope of our study is two-fold. First, we wanted to highlight the factors which lead to either political cooperation or tensions in transboundary river basins. And second, we wanted to map and monitor the likelihood of these kinds of interactions over space and time and under changing socio-economic conditions,” said Fabio Farinosi, JRC researcher and lead author of the study. Among the study findings:

  • A combination of climate change and demographic growth is likely to exacerbate hydro-political issues
  • Water conflicts are more likely to occur in areas that are already under water stress
  • The most vulnerable hotpots includes areas around the Nile, Ganges-Brahmaputra, Indus, Tigris-Euphrates, and Colorado rivers, all of which are currently water stressed

Contributing Factors

Globally, researchers said the combined effect of climate change and population growth will increase the likelihood of water-related conflicts by 74.9% to 95% in the next 50 to 100 years. They identified the following contributing factors in pushing countries towards increased competition/tensions or political cooperation:

  • Scarcity of water
  • High population den l-fired power stations need to be shut down and rapidly replaced with renewable energy sources.sity
  • Power imbalances
  • Climatic stressors
  • Socioeconomic factors

To make matters worse, a recent landmark report published by the United Nations warned that the world has just 12 years to stop global warming before the planet is plunged into extreme heat, drought, floods and poverty. A different report from the International Panel on Climate Change, said in order to address climate change, hundreds of coa

Testing and Conserving Water

Installing a whole house water filter can help conserve a considerable amount of water. It’s a wise idea to order a water testing kit to help determine what minerals, microrganisms and potentially harmful contaminants are in your water before you purchase a water filtration system. The Rapid 12-Point Water Test identifies the 12 most common contaminants present in public and private water sources.

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