Water Wars: To Be or Not To Be?

Water is predicted by many to be the reason for future conflicts. But are water wars really in our future? <em>SEED</em> magazine asks a panel of experts.
May 15, 2009, 10am PDT | Nate Berg
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"Now, in UNESCO's third major World Water Development Report, released in March at the World Water Forum in Istanbul, the threat is again plainly stated: 'As climate change and adverse water impacts increase in politically charged areas, conflicts will likely intensify, requiring new and rapid adaptive security strategies.'

Not everyone, however, is convinced that 'water wars' are all they're chalked up to be. In a March 19 essay in Nature, Wendy Barnaby contends, 'Countries do not go to war over water, they solve their water shortages through trade and international agreements.'

According to Barnaby, global trade in 'virtual water'-the water embedded in food products-allows arid countries like those in the Middle East to meet their water requirements without resorting to conflict."

"...As senior government officials convene later this year for World Water Week in Stockholm, how should they be approaching the issue of 'water wars'? Are they an imminent threat or, as Barnaby suggests, a fabrication unsupported by the facts and perpetuated by the media?"

Seed Magazine asks the experts:

* Mark Zeitoun, environmental engineer
* David Hatton, Australia's "water czar"
* Fred Pearce, environmental journalist
* Tobias Siegfried, environmental physicist and international relations scholar
* Michael E. Campana, hydrogeologist
* Sandra Postel, water analyst and author
* Peter Gleick, scientist and global water security expert

Full Story:
Published on Thursday, May 14, 2009 in Seed
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