According to a report released by the Asia Society of New York, more conflicts are expected in the future over water in Asia. The region has some of the world’s most pressing water problems, with 20% of the population, or 700 Million people, of the continent having no access to safe drinking water, and ½ of the population lacking access to basic sanitation. The region, home to half the world’s population, has less fresh water per person than any other populated continent.
Population growth, rapid urbanization and climate change have led to increased water disputes between nations like India and Pakistan, and complex relations in governing the use of the Mekong River, shared by China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.
The report, Asia’s Next Challenge: Securing the Region’s Water Future, states that “The potential for conflicts sparked by the direct and indirect impacts of an increasingly volatile water supply should not be underestimated, particularly in the light of rising concerns about climate change. No matter how we approach water resources — whether it is on the basis of quality and quantity, or as the most potent manifestation of extreme climatic events — hydropolitics is likely to be a growing force in Asian security.”