Weapon of the Future: Water

US intelligence fears 'water-based state conflict' in not-so-distant future
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 23, 2012 7:47 AM CDT
Updated Mar 25, 2012 6:11 PM CDT
Weapon of the Future: Water
A water-vendor collects water in jerrycans to sell on March 22, 2012 in the Mathare slum, Nairobi ,where a water shortage continues to bite on World Water Day.   (Getty Images)

Soon, the precious commodity that starts wars may not be oil: It'll be water. Thanks to fresh-water shortages, droughts, and floods, US intelligence thinks it's increasingly likely that water could be "used as a weapon" in war, with one state denying water to another, according to a report released yesterday. And terrorists, always hungry for "high-visibility structures to attack," may begin targeting water infrastructure. The estimate is based on both current water policies and trends, and climate change projections, the Washington Post reports.

The warning comes from a declassified version of the National Intelligence Estimate. It doesn't warn of any specific conflicts, but does note some "strategically important water basins," like the Nile, the Tigris-Euphrates, and the Indus. While the spies don't expect any "water-related state conflict" in the next 10 years, they say it's increasingly likely after that. Hillary Clinton announced a new public-private effort to combat water shortages yesterday as well. (More drinking water stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.