Fresh water supplies are unlikely to keep up with global demand by 2040, increasing political instability, hobbling economic growth and endangering world food markets, according to a new U.S. intelligence assessment released recently, reports Andrew Quinn at Reuters. The report by the office of the Director of National Intelligence said that areas including South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa will face major challenges in coping with water problems that could hinder the ability to produce food and generate energy. The report said that the risk of conflict would grow with global water demand likely to outstrip current sustainable supplies by 40 percent by 2030. “The use of water as a weapon or to further terrorist objectives also will become more likely,” it said, noting that vulnerable water infrastructure was a tempting target. Past water disputes have contributed to tensions between rival countries, such as nuclear-armed India and Pakistan. The report said the chief drivers of increased water demand over the next 10 years would be population growth and economic development, although the impacts of climate change will play a growing role, particularly after 2040.