Ten years from now, global water shortages are likely to threaten U.S. security interests. Ask the Director of National Intelligence, the Defense Intelligence Agency or someone from the Central Intelligence Agency; better yet, read the most recent National Intelligence Estimate.
According to a senior U.S. intelligence official who briefed reporters on this issue (on condition of anonymity), there is an increasing likelihood that water will be “potentially used as a weapon, where one state denies access to another.”
That’s old school baby! Not to mention messed up.
Think about it – countries leveraging droughts, watersheds and aquifers to displace neighboring nations. It’s like a real life version of that great line from the movie There Will Be Blood: “I drink your milkshake!” Except instead of oil, we’re talking about water.
Recognizing the problem a decade in advance provides us with a good opportunity to head off trouble at the pass. To do so, we must adopt a two-pronged approach that centers around the following areas:
Foreign Relations: Secretary of State Clinton just announced a new public-private program to use U.S. knowledge and leverage to help find “solutions to global water accessibility challenges, especially in the developing world.”
Good. Let’s teach our global partners sustainable agricultural practices, help build water infrastructure abroad and educate foreign governments about the need for sustainable water practices.
Promote Water-related Technologies: Recent technological advances have enabled us to grow more using less water, capture and reuse previously wasted supplies, and increase treatment efficiency. It’s a tremendous start, but we can (and should) do more.
America can be a global leader on this issue. We know what the problem is, understand what it will take to address it head on and have the means to keep the world wet.
Make water, not war? It’s got a ring to it…