Water, the world’s most precious resource, is about to get a whole lot more precious over the next 25 years.
According to an analysis by non-profit research organization World Resources Institute (WRI), 33 countries will face acute water shortage by 2040. Disrupted rainfall patterns as a result of climate change and a ballooning global population, which is expected to hit nine billion by 2050, are largely responsible for the bleak outlook.
All countries in the Middle East will be affected by the shortage, including nine that are considered extremely susceptible.
“The region, already arguably the least water-secure in the world, draws heavily upon groundwater and desalinated seawater, and faces exceptional water-related challenges for the foreseeable future,” says the report.
Major economies like the United States, China, and India will also be hit by water deficits in the near future, emphasizing the direct correlation between economic development and water demand.
Researchers matched projected rainfall patterns for each region with expected growth in water demand to draw the conclusions; countries with a need for water estimated to be more than 80 percent of its available surface water are classified as being at extremely high risk of water scarcity.
Especially concerning is that many regions currently experiencing geopolitical tensions are most vulnerable to facing impending water shortages, casting yet another major hurdle for peace.
We’ve fought wars for far less, after all.