The Myth of Water Security and Armed Conflict

I remember when you worked with us in the Middle-East Peace Process. There is currently a discussion among us that water scarcity has not and does not cause armed conflict. I say yes based on our discussions in our MEPP meetings. What is your expert opinion?

Question from Mr. Momani, Amman, Jordan.

Yes, water has and continues to cause armed conflict, although generally at localized scales. Specific information about this is given in our book, “Water Security: Conflicts, Threats, Policies.” Probably the best example of conflict over water in the Middle East is the 1967 Israeli war, which the book gives specific details about, along with other conflicts throughout the Middle East and particularly Africa that are currently ensuing. Water resources are in scarce supply in the Middle East; demand continues to grow. As I instructed you in our discussions, please remember that while water is a renewable resource, it is not an expandable one. As our book explains, there is a long history of using water as a weapon in wartime by cutting supplies, bombing dams and reservoirs, etc. Also, while we are in a state of never-ending conflict around the globe, our new conflicts are primarily due to resources, i.e., resource wars. And, water and environmental security requires more than just freedom from armed conflict – it requires resiliency of supply, as well as access to high quality water, in sufficient quantities, to ensure public health, the production of suffi­cient food stocks, and the potential for economic development

Around the globe, particularly in the Middle East and Africa, these issues are threatened constantly and, as we mention in the book, almost every country in the region supplies less water per capita than the United Nations suggests for the minimum for human consumption. This issue will continue to cause increased tensions in the region moving forward as we discussed in the MEPP. Individual country and regional security will depend greatly on your water resources. As discussed in person, the Palestinian-Israel dilemma hinges on water and, as I told you then, we do have a solution, much more refined and better now, that will work well, but until the time comes that the stakeholders are willing to discuss the critical issue, it is moot to demonstrate said solution.

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Our book illustrates water security at every level – domestic, regional, national, and international. The future, particularly in the Middle East will likely continue to bring climatologically unstable precipitation and climate shifts and thus, annual, regional water deficits resulting in increased scarcity of supplies and increased regional security tensions. But, this is also occurring on a global basis, though not as dire in most locations as yours. In terms of the impact of climate change on water security and management, skilled personnel will be needed to mitigate long-term threats, as well as new tools such as our 7-year forecast that links climate to other natural resources, critical infrastructures the economy of the region forecast, and resiliency potential. Care must be taken to examine only the facts and not get caught up in the global hysteria.

Remember that many pushing such falsehoods are liberals who have an agenda and specific ideology they would impose on the majority of peoples. These individuals and groups primary enemy is truth. Research carefully all the facts that can help mitigate your water-security problem and seek the assistance of experts whose only goal is to help people. Remember our discussions and contact me privately if you wish to discuss this issue further. In brief summary, you are only witnessing the beginning of water-security and supplies issues – they will worsen and you need to be prepared to meet the continued demands of agriculture, energy, industry, and domestic uses, which will increase. Think carefully about interdependencies. How would you propose to move forward?