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On the Verge of Water Wars
China, India and Pakistan are just a few countries facing critical water issues in the 21st century. Of all the water on earth, 97 per cent is salt water and the remaining three per cent is fresh, with less than one per cent of the planet's drinkable water readily accessible for direct human uses. The areas where water scarcity is the biggest problem are some of the same places where political conflicts are common.

The scarcity of water in South Asia will become harder to manage as demand rises. South Asia’s population of 1.5 billion is growing by 1.7% a year, says the World Bank, which means an extra 25m or so mouths to water and feed. The strain of bigger populations, diminishing water tables and a changing climate could all conspire to produce a storm of troubles.

Overall supply will not only fail to keep up, but will decline. Change to the monsoon, which delivers most of the region’s fresh water each summer has shown signs of more dry spells within the peak monsoon months. If these lead to weaker, or less predictable, monsoons in future the consequences for farmers could be dire.

Governments in South Asia can respond to growing scarcity in one of two ways. The first is to improve the way they use the water they have, both by managing it better and by co-operating with one another. The second is to try to grab as much water as they can from their neighbors.

Water Wars!

What’s being done?

 
 


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University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s New Labs for to Study Safe Drinking Water - $1 million gift to the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee will establish the Kikkoman healthy Waters Environmental Health Laboratories. The labs, located in the School of Freshwater Sciences building, will focus on the advance study of safe and sustainable drinking water.


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