Water Threat: 'Bigger Than Financial Crisis'

As the World Water Forum convenes in Istanbul, two new reports warn that water shortages will elevate to a global crisis within the next two decades, creating a problem even bigger than the current economic crisis.
March 18, 2009, 5am PDT | Nate Berg
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"The two reports – one by the world's foremost international economic forum and the other by 24 United Nations agencies – presage the opening tomorrow of the most important conference on the looming crisis for three years. The World Water Forum, which will be attended by 20,000 people in Istanbul, will hear stark warnings of how half the world's population will be affected by water shortages in just 20 years' time, with millions dying and increasing conflicts over dwindling resources."

"A report by the World Economic Forum, which runs the annual Davos meetings of the international business and financial elite, says that lack of water, will 'soon tear into various parts of the global economic system" and "start to emerge as a headline geopolitical issue'."

"It adds: 'The financial crisis gives us a stark warning of what can happen if known economic risks are left to fester. We are living in a water 'bubble' as unsustainable and fragile as that which precipitated the collapse in world financial markets. We are now on the verge of bankruptcy in many places with no way of paying the debt back.'"

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Published on Tuesday, March 17, 2009 in The Independent
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