Defining the Geopolitics of a Thirsty WorldSM
Global Water Geopolitics: Potential Water Woes (and Wars) in Central Asia

As freshwater resources become ever more scarce or polluted, a global crisis in access to clean water is emerging. While this will be most acutely felt in Africa and West Asia, a lack of freshwater is already an economic constraint in major growth markets like China, India, and Indonesia, as well as commercial centers in Australia and the western United States. According to the United Nations – if present consumption patterns continue – two-thirds of the world’s population will live in water-stressed conditions by the year 2025. In fact, 32 countries – by 2010 — are projected to experience water shortages.

At present, fewer than 10 countries share 60% of the world’s fresh water reserves. Brazil, Russia, China, and Canada comprise the top four water-rich nations. Surveying the world of water geopolitics, it is inevitable – as frequent readers of this blog know – that disputes over the control of water sources and rivers will arise between neighboring countries. Some of the regions most likely to feel stress earlier than others include:

One area that is not frequently analyzed is Central Asia. However, via a recent article in New Eurasia, we’re also able to take a look ahead at some shared water resources that have the potential to trigger Central Asian water tensions in the years ahead:

Given existing geopolitical tensions, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan seem most likely to experience problems first, particularly Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. In light of their current water sources and ongoing petro-wealth (with which they may be able to “buy” their way out of water shortages or conflicts), Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan appear to be better positioned to manage the coming challenges.



This entry was posted on Monday, January 21st, 2008 at 2:52 pm and is filed under Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan.  You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.  Both comments and pings are currently closed. 

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