Nearly a billion people in some 50 nations are already experiencing severe water shortages. And unfortunately official projections tell us that the worst is yet to come.
Also a recent article in Newsweek pointed out that every eight seconds a child dies from a water-related disease and 80 percent of diseases in the developing world are caused by contaminated water supplies. Some 50 percent of the earth's population lacks adequate water sanitation.
An even more disturbing possibility is that future wars may very well be fought over water. Wrote the Science Editor of the Independent on Sunday: "In 25 years the world will be 20 percent short of water even if every country implements the most efficient conservation programs imaginable." Ismail Serageldin, the chairman of the World Commission on Water, stated that the factors responsible for the coming crisis are a rising global population, an ever-increasing demand and worsening pollution of water supplies.
The Middle East could conceivably be a flashpoint because the general area is already arid, and water disputes, both actual and potential, tend to mark the region. Israel and Jordan are currently in conflict over an Israeli proposal to cut the desert kingdom's water supplies. Also Iraq and Syria fear Turkish designs in building a dam on the Euphrates with the potential power of withholding water from those two countries. The Egyptians have their own concerns as the Nile flows through seven other countries before reaching Egypt. These include Uganda and war-torn Sudan.
World News and Prophecy will be watching global fresh water trends very closely.
(Newsweek, March 29, 1999 (Atlantic edition); The Express, March 20, 1999; The Independent on Sunday, March 21, 1999.)