I have often heard it suggested or assumed that the next wars will be over water. The International Water Management Institute is not so pessimistic. Their article ‘Promoting cooperation through management of transboundary water resources‘ says:
Research is challenging the conventional wisdom that conflict over water leads to war. The water wars hypothesis has its roots in earlier research carried out on a small number of transboundary rivers such as the Indus, Jordan and the Nile…because they had experienced water-related disputes. Specific events cited as evidence include Israel’s bombing of Syria’s attempts to divert the Jordan’s headwater and military threats by Egypt against any country building dams in the upstream water of the Nile. However, while some links made between conflict and water were valid, they did not necessarily represent the norm.
while it is true that there has been conflict related to water in a handful of international basins, in the rest of the world’s approximately 300 shared basins the record has been largely positive.
War is not inevitable.
This paper is an example of research into alternatives to international conflict over a specific resource resulting in evidence-based cases of violent conflict not being required to resole international problems regarding resource issues. So if someone says to you “The next wars will be about water” you can now say “No, they won’t. Water may be involved but we now know it is more likely to result in international co-operation.“