Tensions turn to war as disappearing glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau threaten river systems and water supplies to India and Pakistan.
Indian and Pakistani troops have clashed in a bid to secure the last water from the Indus river. The glaciers that feed the river are disappearing due to global warming.
Since the signing of the Indus Basin Water Treaty in 1960, there have often been tensions over access to the water, which is used for irrigation, freshwater and hydro-electric power.
During the 2020’s – when the rapid melting of land ice on the Tibetan Plateau caused massive floods that devastated the region – it seemed that the water wars might end. India and Pakistan agreed to replace hydro-power with nuclear energy to free up fresh water for crop production and drinking water.
However crop failures in Pakistan, and pressure on India’s freshwater supplies by refugees from inundated Bangladesh, are increasing the tension again. Both nations are refusing to enter negotiations claiming the waters of the Indus as their own. The UN today agreed to bring in peace-keeping troops to monitor the situation.
Still on the subject of water, human rights organisations are calling for guaranteed water rations for people in water-rich nations. They want to see an end to the export of fresh water to the highest bidder. But it is still expected Australians will see an increase in the pump price in the coming weeks.
Last Updated: 21 September 2009
1 William Street
NSW 2010 Australia