'Nations need to join hands to resolve water woes'

New Delhi: Warning that water disputes could lead to another World War, former Chief Justice JS Verma Friday said countries sharing the same ecology should forget boundaries and join hands to resolve issues related to natural resources.

"For quite some time it is being said, I hope it's not believed, that the World War-3 would take place over water disputes. Now when people have even started thinking in this fashion that shows the possibility of such conflict and also the significance of water.

"It has now become necessary to focus on finding alternatives to avoid what is being apprehended," Verma said addressing a conference on 'River Waters: Perspectives and Challenges for Asia' here.

The former CJI said that it was in the "common interest" of the countries in the region to formulate, propagate, and devise non-violent alternatives for resolving water disputes.

Asked about how India could go about to resolve its water disputes with its neighbours, Verma said, "It's time when the countries that share same ecology shared more information on water issues and forgot the boundaries so far as natural resources are concerned.

"Because nature doesn't know any boundaries, it is the politics that divides," he said.

Isabel Hilton, Editor of China Dialogue, an independent, non-profit organisation, said that despite the abundant evidence of growing scarcity and uncertainty, people continue to waste the region's water "on truly breathtaking scale.

"Nearly half of Delhi's water runs to waste. In Afghanistan, as much as 77 per cent water is lost due to bad maintenance and collapsing infrastructure. In Central Asia nearly 80 per cent water is being wasted. It could have serious consequences for all of us," Hilton said.

She said though the countries have got technical means to take corrective measures for preserving the natural resource, it is not happening due to lack of political will and foresight.