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A FEARFUL FUTURE

"It has often been said that water is "blue gold" and the next resource wars will be fought, not over oil, but over water. Maude Barlow, senior advisor to the United Nations on water issues, wrote that the way in which we view water "will in large part determine whether our future is peaceful or perilous." There is no doubt that the world's supply of drinkable fresh water is threatened. An astounding one billion people do not have access to safe drinking water today and that number is likely to reach 2.8 billion in only two decades. Will these challenges result in an all-out "water war"? "The British non-profit International Alert released a report identifying forty-six countries where water and climate stresses could ignite violent conflict by 2025, prompting the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to affirm, "The consequences for humanity are grave. Water scarcity threatens economic and social gains and is a potent fuel for wars and conflict." (The Nation, 31 March) RD

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