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But I’d hardly call that a silver lining — the most populated areas on the planet face severe water shortages, and political turmoil won’t be far behind.
Food shortages played a role in instigating the current protests — water shortages may bring the next.
Today is World Water Day, a global event aimed at raising awareness of international water issues.
And just in time for the event, Maplecroft, a British risk analysis group has released a study gauging which nations are in the biggest danger of seeing a water crisis — the nations whose water supplies were least secure.
This map of water scarcity shows the extent of the problem — the crisis areas are in red: Note that there are a bunch of severely threatened areas far outside of the Middle East and Africa that face impending water scarcity, too — and one of them is right in the good ol’ US of A.
New Mexico, Arizona, and Nevada have long struggled with getting their populations adequate water — and they’re only growing. The nations with the most secure water supplies are Canada, Sweden, Guyana and Russia.
The report noted that severe water insecurity could lead to increased political tension, strife, and unrest.
Those unsustainable population centers will come to be a major burden on resources in the not-too-distant future. Each of those nations has relatively low population density and ample domestic water — especially massive Canada and Russia.China’s uber-fast-growing cities could create water problems in the North, and the India and Pakistan have butted heads over Kashmir for decades — not least because it gives both thirsty nations a pipeline into the Himalayas’ glacial water supply. And some 20% of the world’s fresh water is in the Great Lakes, which Canada shares with the US.