Tag Archives: Egypt

Water Shortages and the Threats of War and Terror

Image: cawater-info.net

Image: cawater-info.net

The prediction that water will outstrip oil — and every other scarce natural resource — as a factor in global conflict has been around for a long time. After all, without water, everybody and everything dies.  There is no substitute for it. Among water-stressed regions, where is conflict likely to strike, and when? In many places, it’s already happening.

Conflict is widespread and ongoing because it can take many forms besides all-out war. In some areas, competition over water may be at the root of tensions between warring factions, though not the only cause. In certain conflicts, water resources may be military or terrorist targets, either to capture or to destroy as a way of hurting the enemy. Elsewhere, protests over water shortages resulting from perceived mismanagement can erupt in violence. The Pacific Institute studies these issues; the conflict chronology at the link below is especially interesting because it shows the whole gamut of water-related struggles.

A useful backgrounder on water-related conflict can be found in Suzanne Goldenberg’s recent piece for The Guardian, also linked below. It identifies six “regions at risk,” due to extreme drought and/or tension over shared resources: California, Brazil, Middle East (Iran, United Arab Emirates, Jordan), North Africa (Egypt and Ethiopia), South Asia (eastern Pakistan, northern India), and China. Stephen Leahy’s IPS article and Giulio Boccaletti’s op-ed for The Nature Conservancy further fill in the picture and scope of global water (in)security.

Read more:

Why global water shortages pose threat of terror and war – The Guardian

In an increasingly unpredictable world, we must secure nature to secure our water – The Nature Conservancy

Water crisis hitting food, energy — and everything else – IPS

Pacific Institute: water and conflict

Pacific Institute: water conflict chronology

Related posts:

Past, Present and Future: California’s Epic Struggle With Water

Water War? Dam Talks Between Egypt and Ethiopia Falter

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Filed under Africa, Asia, Conflicts, Drought, Middle East, North America, Research, South America, Water Shortage

Water War? Dam Talks Between Egypt and Ethiopia Falter


Image: NASA

In 1979, Egyptian president Anwar Sadat said if the country ever again went to war, it would be over water. Egypt’s near-total reliance on the Nile River for water has made for tense relations with other Nile Basin countries at times, and Ethiopia’s current construction of the massive Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile tributary, upriver from Egypt, has led to speculation that war could erupt. Some experts say it probably won’t, because Ethiopia has a strong military and Egypt is no longer under the hawkish sway of Hosni Mubarak, but sabres have been rattled.

Read more:

Update: Egyptian PM says dam negotiations are ‘not over’ (Ahram Online)

Bloomberg reports on Ethiopia’s rejection of Egypt’s latest proposal asserting its right to most of the water.

Aljazeera provides background on this dispute, as well as previous clashes over the Nile.

Ahram Online quotes Egyptian official calling Ethiopian claims of dam progress a “media show.”

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Filed under Africa, Conflicts, Rivers and Watersheds, Water Shortage