The global demand for fresh water is soaring as supply becomes more uncertain. Water-related problems are particularly acute in Asia – the world's most populous continent. As population growth and urbanization rates in Asia continue to rise, stress on the region's water resources will intensify. Climate change is expected to worsen the situation. Experts agree that reduced access to fresh water will lead to a cascading set of consequences, including impaired food production, the loss of secure livelihood, large-scale migration within and across borders, and increased geopolitical tensions and instabilities. Over time, these effects will have a profound impact on security throughout the region.
The report by Asia Society's Leadership Group on Water Security in Asia considers the security dimensions associated with decreased access to a safe, stable supply of water in Asia and provides a forward-looking agenda aimed at averting a water crisis in the region. The scope and scale of Asia's water problems demonstrate that no matter how we may approach water resources—whether on the basis of quality and quantity, or as the most potent manifestation of extreme climatic events—hydropolitics is likely to be a growing force in Asian security that will require a broader understanding of and strengthened institutional capacities for water governance. Join us as members of the Leadership Group on Water Security discuss the report's findings and recommendations.