|U.S. Forms Water Partnership to Boost National, Global Security
WASHINGTON, DC, March 22, 2012 (ENS) - "While wars over water are
unlikely within the next 10 years, water challenges - shortages, poor
water quality, floods - will likely increase the risk of instability and
state failure, exacerbate regional tensions, and distract countries
from working with the United States on important policy objectives,"
according to an assessment released today by the U.S. National
To mark World Water Day, which falls on March 22 each year, the National
Intelligence Council released the unclassified version of its report on
Global Water Security over the next 30 years, as requested by U.S.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Between now and 2040, the assessment finds, fresh water availability
will not keep up with demand without more effective management of water
"Water problems will hinder the ability of key countries to produce food
and generate energy, posing a risk to global food markets and hobbling
economic growth," the National Intelligence Council concludes. "As a
result of demographic and economic development pressures, North Africa,
the Middle East, and South Asia will face major challenges coping with
"We assess that during the next 10 years, water problems will contribute
to instability in states important to U.S. national security
interests," the NIC reports.
"Historically, water tensions have led to more water-sharing agreements
than violent conflicts. However," the NIC states, "we judge that as
water shortages become more acute beyond the next 10 years, water in
shared basins will increasingly be used as leverage; the use of water as
a weapon or to further terrorist objectives also will become more
likely beyond 10 years."
Secretary Clinton today called the intelligence community’s findings "sobering."
"This assessment is a landmark document that puts water security in its
rightful place as part of national security," Clinton told a news
conference at the State Department.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton introduces the U.S. Water Partnership (Photo courtesy U.S. State Dept.)
"It is also a call for American leadership in this area," she said. "Our
domestic experiences with water and our technical expertise are valued
around the world. And as countries become more water stressed or nations
face water-related crises, they are increasingly turning to the United
States for assistance. We hear this all the time at embassies
everywhere. Local leaders meet with our ambassadors and ask, ’What did
you do in the United States? How did you do it? Can you help us?’"
To help answer that call for leadership and to expand the impact of
America’s work on water, Clinton today announced the launch of a new
public-private partnership, the U.S. Water Partnership, that gathers
partners from the private sector, the philanthropic community, the NGOs,
academics, experts, and government.
"This approach will help catalyze new opportunities for cooperation,"
said Secretary Clinton. "The Water Partnership has built-in flexibility
to address the world’s changing water needs and to continue our work to
find sustainable solutions."
A new U.S. Water Web Portal will provide a single entry point to American data, best practices, and training.
This information will help empower people taking on these problems in
their own communities, said Clinton. "It will help build international
support for American approaches, technologies, companies, government
agencies, our whole universe of experts standing ready to assist."
Typhoon Sendong causes water panic in the Philippines. A
cement-mixer truck brought in water for residents of this village to
use for hygienic purposes. (Photo by The 700 Club Asia)
The U.S. Water Partnership will not depend on any one government agency
or any one private organization to keep it going, said Clinton. "The
State Department is proud to be a founding partner, but we also hope
that the partnership will spawn many new projects that may or may not
"We believe this will help map out our route to a more water secure
world," said Clinton, "a world where no one dies from water-related
diseases; where water does not impede social or economic development;
and where no war is ever fought over water."
The U.S. Water Partnership was inspired by Secretary Clinton’s 2010
World Water Day speech in which she pledged to bring American
diplomatic, scientific, private sector and development stakeholders
together to address global water challenges "holistically." A series of
consultative meetings held between January and September 2011 with
representatives from all these sectors shaped the partnership.
Joining Secretary Clinton at the launch of the U.S. Water Partnership
Representative Earl Blumenauer, who is proposing legislation to
establish a federal Water Trust Fund to help local jurisdictions repair
aging water systems and infrastructure.
They were joined by many of the U.S. Water Partnership’s 22 founding
members: Africare, the Coca-Cola Company, Procter & Gamble, the
Nature Conservancy, Rockefeller Foundation, Ford Motor Company, Skoll
Global Threats Fund, the Water Institute at the University of North
Carolina, World Resources Institute, Global Environment and Technology
Foundation, Global Water Challenge, and Clean Water America Alliance.
Government officials were also on hand from the State Department,
International Boundary and Water Commission, NASA, the U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers, the U.S. Department of the Interior, and the U.S. Agency
for International Development, USAID.
The international community has achieved the target for water supply
three years before the deadline, United Nations agencies announced
earlier this month. USAID, the U.S. government and its partners in this
effort have provided first time access for millions around the globe,
said USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah, but more work is urgently
"Even as we celebrate the news that the world has successfully halved
the number of people without access to water and sanitation, it is
important to remember that significant disparities still exist between
and within countries," said Shah. "We will continue to work closely with
the many countries that have not achieved their individual country
Millenium Development Goal target for water supply, especially in
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