Without water, there is no life. It is as simple as that! Because water is essential to the human existence, it is no wonder that it is also a source of conflict, controversy and security concerns around the world. Here is why:

(1) People NEED water: It goes without saying that water is essential to human existence. That being said it is no surprise that people will do whatever it takes to get their hands on water sources. Over the last hundred years, the earth has experienced a drastic decrease in potable water sources, and people are beginning to notice. Potable water resources have been a center for discussion amongst many leaders in the international community as a result.

(2) Cultural and border conflicts: Difference cultural and religious groups have disputed over different bodies of water for hundreds of years. A main concern regarding water scarcity is the potential conflicts that may erupt because of lack of resources. Occupation of territories with water, civil wars and intra-state conflicts and even international wars over water sources are all concerns that many scholars see in the future with regards to water scarcity.

(3) Outbreak of Violence: Many studies have shown an interesting link between limited resources (i.e. water) and internal violence in states. The Middle East has seen a history of “water wars” persisting around the claiming and use of particular water sources in a region that has limited water. This is something that many scholars see as a future threat around the world as water sources continue to diminish.

(4) Science can only take us so far: One of the grave assumptions many people make is that technology regarding water sustainability will eventually catch up and alleviate the issue. However, we have not seen effective technologies as water resources around the world continue to deplete. Despite being the most abundant resource on the planet, only about 2.5 percent of the water on the planet is able to be used for human consumption, agricultural purposes and so on, limiting our options.

(5) WHERE IS ALL THE WATER GOING?! : In the United States, we have already begun to feel the impact of depleting water resources. California is experiencing an intense drought, forcing the government to create new laws to preserve as much water as possible. However, with climate change and little to no rain in the region, it seems that legislative restrictions are not enough. Throughout the world, certain regions see even more limited resources, as is the case in Africa and the Middle East, where climate change continues to deplete water sources.

Water continues to be a central concern in international security, especially with depleting resources. Without changes in legislation, daily habits and water usage, these concerns will only grow more imminent and detrimental. But even if these changes made, one can’t help but wonder if it is too late? Are Water Wars something we will see in the future, throughout the world?

– Alexandrea Jacinto

Sources: International Committee of the Red Cross, International Water Security Network
Photo: Clean Water Action