Beijing Water

A global problem: How to avoid war over water

International Herald Tribune
August 23, 2006

‘Improving the efficiency of water use and encouraging conservation through pricing and more efficient technologies in agriculture and industry would help reduce scarcity.’

Stockholm: ‘Whisky is for drinking, water is for fighting over,” Mark Twain once said. At the start of the 21st century, his gloomy view on the water side of the equation has been getting endorsements from an impressive – if unlikely – cast of characters. The Central Intelligence Agency, the accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers and, most recently, Britain’s Ministry of Defense have all raised the specter of future “water wars.” With water availability shrinking across the Middle East, Asia and sub- Saharan Africa, so the argument runs, violent conflict between states is increasingly likely. The specter is also on the agenda for the experts from 140 countries gathered this week at the annual World Water Week forum in Stockholm. … So, here’s the question. Are we heading for an era of “hydrological warfare” in which rivers, lakes and aquifers become national security assets to be fought over, or controlled through proxy armies and client states? Or can water act as a force for peace and cooperation?

Categories: Beijing Water

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