Ours is a G-Zero world, one defined by the unravelling of the old American-led world order. The lack of a clear geopolitical pecking order has affected the way countries approach trade (see: US vs. China, TPP), technology (see: 5G leadership, the battle for AI supremacy), and security (see: Syria, NATO tensions). The result is a world that is less stable, less secure and less predictable as the geopolitical risks steadily mount.
Those risks will only be compounded by the looming era of by water stress. Global demand for water will be 55 percent higher in 2050 compared to 2000, while climate change is going to result in too much or too little water across every part of the world. Put another way—a fundamental building block of human infrastructure is going to be increasingly threatened, and at a time when there is no international structure in place to effectively deal with that reality and all the complications that will inevitably arise. Living in a G-Zero world makes both our geopolitics and our access to water trickier than ever. And a big reason for that is that geopolitics will drive water stress, and water stress will drive our geopolitics. Here’s how.