Folks, it turns out Waterworld, released in 1995 and starring Kevin Costner and Jeanne Tripplehorn, was prophetic as hell. In case you don’t remember the classic film, here’s the trailer to refresh your memory:
Take notes, because that very well might be your life in 30 years.
According to a paper published in Global Environmental Change and reported on by Gizmodo, scientists have identified several spots around the globe where ‘hydro-political issues’ may lead to geopolitical conflict.
In their words:
“Although water issues alone have not been the sole trigger for warfare in the past, tensions over freshwater management and use represent one of the main concerns in political relations between riparian states and may exacerbate existing tensions, increase regional instability and social unrest.”
They used data like past ‘cross-border water interactions’ as well as information about the availability of freshwater, climate stress, human pressure on water resources, topographic characteristics and socioeconomic conditions to estimate which regions would be most vulnerable by 2050 and 2100.
The researchers found that conflict is more likely in areas where a “transboundary” to water is present – a shared river or lake – or where freshwater is scarce, population density high, and power imbalances and climate stresses exist.
Several high-risk areas were identified, including the Nile, Ganges-Brahmaputra, Indus, Colorado and Euphrates rivers.
According to the map, the majority of Australia (being a desert) is on the lower end of high-risk, while the East Coast is relatively low-risk. It looks like Canada and Northern Europe will have few water-related problems, but that might be because they’ll be underwater as a result of the polar ice caps melting.
Like many predicted problems, this could be avoided if politicians and corporations acted to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions. Based on the historical data, I won’t be holding my breath for that to happen, though.