Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point
On Air
Low Graphics

Friday, August 28, 1998 Published at 11:14 GMT 12:14 UK


'Water wars' predicted

The developing world is already experiencing severe water shortages

Fresh water - described as the fluid that lubricates development - is in shortage all over the world, and a new report says the situation is likely to get worse.

A third of the world's population will be short of fresh water by the year 2025, according to the report just published by the Johns Hopkins Population Information Programme in the United States.

With prompt action, says the report, water shortages can be avoided, but without action, water wars are set to be a feature of the next century.

[ image: Water loss could be reduced by up to 90%]
Water loss could be reduced by up to 90%
The worst water shortages are expected in the developing world, where a combination of rapid population growth, pollution and inefficient use of water already puts a huge strain on water resources.

The programme calls for urgent action - a "Blue Revolution" to conserve and manage fresh water supplies by combining the use of water handling technology with international water sharing agreements.

Technologies have been developed that can reduce water loss by up to 90% and these should be implemented in countries that can afford the large investments required.

Elsewhere, the report argues, centuries-old water conservation techniques exist that can be used to similar effect.

The second half of the revolution requires countries to agree water sharing pacts, such as the agreement between India and Bangladesh to share the water of the Ganges river.

With over 200 of the world's river basins shared by two or more countries, similar agreements are needed to prevent conflict over precious water resources.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia

Relevant Stories

26 Aug 98 | Middle East
West Bank water row

01 Dec 97 | Global warming
Our changing world

27 Mar 98 | Water Week
Poisoned water endangers millions

20 Mar 98 | Water Week
Where has all the water gone?

20 Mar 98 | Water Week
The summer of '76

Internet Links

Water watch - The Institute of Hydrology


Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

From Business
Microsoft trial mediator appointed

Violence greets Clinton visit

From Entertainment
Taxman scoops a million

Safety chief deplores crash speculation

Bush calls for 'American internationalism'

Hurricane Lenny abates

EU fraud: a billion dollar bill

Russian forces pound Grozny

Senate passes US budget

Boy held after US school shooting

Cardinal may face loan-shark charges

Sudan power struggle denied

Sharif: I'm innocent

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

India's malnutrition 'crisis'

Next steps for peace

Homeless suffer as quake toll rises

Dam builders charged in bribery scandal

Burundi camps 'too dire' to help

DiCaprio film trial begins

Memorial for bonfire dead

Spy allegations bug South Africa

Senate leader's dismissal 'a good omen'

Tamil rebels consolidate gains

New constitution for Venezuela

Hurricane pounds Caribbean

Millennium sect heads for the hills

South African gays take centre stage

Lockerbie trial judges named