Dark clouds are looming – the geopolitics of water

By Angus Hardie |

Only once in my life have I been thirsty. I mean really, really thirsty. So thirsty that I was consumed by it and nothing else really mattered. But in fact even then I wasn't in any real danger. I was just a little overheated and dehydrated. Nonetheless the memory has stayed with me. And it resurfaced during this weekend and particularly during the talk given by James Ferguson which was entitled Is Water The New Oil? James presented several striking images and a series of truly shocking statistics. In particular, a photograph of some Somali women and children who had just walked 500 miles from their drought stricken homeland in search of water. Some of the children had died on this trek for survival. And another photograph of the stunningly beautiful city of Sanna, the capital of Yemen, which is about to become the first city in the word to run completely dry.

Control over water supply has become the trump card that all sides seek in the unfathomable geopolitcal warmongering that is spreading across that entire region. What we, in the water-rich north, are describing as a flood of refugees sailing across the Mediterranean towards us is in fact a mere trickle compared to what is coming. UN estimates 200 million environmental refugees will be on the move north by 2050. Any thoughts that Scotland can take comfort from its water saturated state were quickly dispensed with by James' talk. This is a global problem that is going to impact on everyone. Most depressing of all was the thought that we were all left to reflect upon. It may very well be too late to do anything about it.

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