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Global Water Security

March 26, 2012

A report commissioned by the US State Department and released last week warns that  lack of access to clean water poses national and global security threats. The report’s bottom line is (p. iii):

During the next 10 years, many countries important to the United States will experience water problems–shortages, poor water quality, or floods–that will risk instability and state failure, increase regional tensions, and distract them from working with the United States on important US policy objectives. Between now and 2040, fresh water availability will not keep up with demand absent 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 hobbling 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.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the release of the report on World Water Day (March 22). In the same speech, she also launched a new partnership, the US Water Partnership (USWP) to improve water security (view fact sheet). The USWP is a public-private partnership between US agencies like the US Department of the Interior and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) with corporations and NGOs, including Coca-Cola, Proctor & Gamble, the Nature Conservancy, and the Clean Water America Alliance. The partnership “seeks to mobilize US-based knowledge, expertise and resources to improve water security around the world–particularly in those countries most in need” (see the press release).

You can read more about the Global Water Security report and the USWP in these news stories in the New York Times and ABC News.

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