Water is a really big problem in Asia. I guess the Americans and Europeans here have a hard time understanding water scarcity. Look at the red regions in the middle. It includes the nuclear powers – China, India, Pakistan, Israel and other major powers such as South Africa, Egypt, and Iran.
These nations are big enough to have a war among them. And, if World War III occurs it will be in Asia where there are enough of nuclear powers and unsettled past disputes.
Major Multinational Water disputes
- . Besides Kashmir, water is the single biggest bone of contention between India and Pakistan.
- . The biggest bone of contention between India and Bangladesh.
- . Brahmaputra river is the core water source of Eastern India and Bangladesh. However, there are perennial rumors about China diverting that water source.
- East Asian disputes. . The disputes over the Mekong river involves China, Vietnam, Myanmar and a couple of other south Asian countries.
- Central Asian disputes. . Uzbekistan is fighting Krygystan and Tajikistan over river waters. At various points in time, this threatened to become military conflicts. The sharing of Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers have engulfed half-a-dozen nations into a dispute.
- (also involves Sudan).
- (involves Israel, Egypt, and Jordan).
Even within nations, different provinces are involved in acrimonious disputes between each other. For instance, the southern states in India are mired in longstanding legal disputes over interstate river waters () and Bolivia had a major water “civil” war ( ).
The population has exploded in Asia since the World War-II. Large size and poor spending on infrastructure has left precious few water pipelines and storage to support the billions. The recent prosperity has imported water intensive habits from Asia (such as rocketing meat consumption).
Let us take also out this “seawater desalination” part. We are not talking about an island nation or prosperous port in a petrol-rich nation. Here is the population map of India put up recently in 2018). The inland region has continued to outstrip the coastal areas in population .100s of millions of people live in the dark spots. How are you going to get them your purified sea water? The same is true for China, Pakistan, Bangladesh & other populated regions of Asia.