National Security Assessment: Water Scarcity Disrupting U.S. and Three Continents

Outlet: Circle of blue

April 3, 2012

The world’s demand for fresh water is growing so fast that, by 2030, agriculture, industry, and expanding cities on three continents will face such scarce supplies that the confrontation could disrupt economic development and cause ruinous political instability, according to the first U.S. cabinet-level report on the global water crisis.

The report, “Global Water Security,” prepared for the State Department by the National Intelligence Council, found that, unless there are serious changes in conservation and water use practices, global water demand will reach 6,900 billion cubic meters (1,800 trillion gallons) annually by 2030, a figure that is about 2,400 billion cubic meters (634 trillion gallons) higher than today. The authors of the report concluded that level of consumption is “40 percent above current sustainable water supplies,” and will “hinder the ability of key countries to produce food and generate energy, posing a risk to global food markets and hobbling economic growth.”