Asia has less fresh water per capita than any other continent except Antarctica. As the population booms and a growing middle class seeks modern conveniences like washing machines and dishwashers, water becomes a prized commodity and the source of conflict. The latest concern about Asia’s water supplies stems from Chinese plans to build additional dams, redirecting water from the Tibetan plateau for farms in Northern China. Analysts suggest that China’s large hydroelectric projects, combined with mining, contaminate water supplies and upset the delicate balance of the ecosystem. Development in the Tibetan region raises concern for many Asian countries, with its rivers providing drinking water for almost half the globe’s population. As evidence emerges that climate change threatens supplies of the limited natural resource, nations jockey to control water sources and demand oversight over neighbors’ projects. Competition over water increases tension and the potential for conflict throughout the continent.
Click here to read the article published on The Japan Times, 2 July 2007.