"Water Wars" loom? But none in past 4,500 years

#1
By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - With a steady stream of bleak predictions that "water wars" will be fought over dwindling supplies in the 21st century, battles between two Sumerian city-states 4,500 years ago seem to set a worrying precedent.

But the good news, many experts say, is that the conflict between Lagash and Umma over irrigation rights in what is now Iraq was the last time two states went to war over water.

Down the centuries since then, international rivals sharing waters such as the Jordan River, the Nile, the Ganges or the Parana have generally favored cooperation over conflict.


So if history can be trusted, things may stay that way.

"The simple explanation is that water is simply too important to fight over," said Aaron Wolf, a professor at Oregon State University. "Nations often go to the brink of war over water and then resolve their differences."

Since the war between Lagash and Umma, recorded on a stone carving showing vultures flying off with the heads of defeated Umma warriors, no wars have been fought and 3,600 international water treaties have been signed, he said.

Yet politicians regularly warn that water shortages caused by surging populations and climate change could trigger conflicts this century in a world where a billion people in developing countries lack access to clean drinking water.

"Fierce competition for fresh water may well become a source of conflict and wars in the future," U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in 2001. The English word "rival" even comes from the Latin "rivalis" meaning "someone sharing a river".
http://today.reuters.com/news/artic...-WATER.xml&WTmodLoc=Home-C2-TopNews-newsOne-9
 
#2
PartTimePongo said:
"The simple explanation is that water is simply too important to fight over," said Aaron Wolf, a professor at Oregon State University. "Nations often go to the brink of war over water and then resolve their differences."
mmmm but lets take some current examples; what about when somebody like say China damns the top half of the Mekong and says fcuk you to all minor Countries down stream. Or the US insisting that the Rio Grande is theirs because thats where it starts. Turkey v's Syria or the river Jordons fate, I do not predict 'co-operation' here.

Professor Aaron Wolf is evidently a nice man who would make a good neighbour but he seems to know little of the world.
 
#3
There is a precendent, actually relatively recently, I'll try and dig it up. After all, if the Russians can stop the gas, a relative Third World country can gain power with its more prosperous neighbours by withholding a similar natural resource :(
 
#4
It's also one of the reasons that Israel will never give up the land they captured from the Arabs as that ground contains two huge underground aquifers which constitute the only fresh water within current Israeli borders. The only other option is the River Jordan and guess where that little trickle passes through before it gets into Israel. Just consider how many raids the Israelis launch against irrigation systems diverting water away from it.
 
#6
SCoy said:
There is a precendent, actually relatively recently, I'll try and dig it up. After all, if the Russians can stop the gas, a relative Third World country can gain power with its more prosperous neighbours by withholding a similar natural resource :(
Aye. You got away with our oil but we'll make you pay for the water....

In the meanwhile you can have Gordon Brown on free transfer.
 
#7
It's also a big reason why Pakistan is so interested in Kashmir. It's where most of their fresh water sources originate.
 
#8
And why the Sunni need to shut up and start getting tooled up if they want to keep hold of Lake Karbala in the future. You can't drink oil.
 
#9
There was a referance to a comment credited to Sharon that the 67 Arab/Isreali War was over the 63 moves by Isreal on the waters of the River Jordan. However I cannot locate it and will so accept Bollackings.

China and The Mekong, oh my Bhuddha, they have been damming and playing silly buggers for years, certinly for the 5 I have been living here.
An old joke was that Omans forign policy was written in Downing St well I will suggest that Thighlands is now part written in Peking.
The Chinese are slowly reducing the Mekong to a glorified stream and massive blasting of upper reaches to remove rapids and allow passage of large boats, where just a cover to reduce rate at which lack of flow of water became obvious.
Chinas old enemy Vietnam will be a big loser as the rice growing delta will dry up and the Tone Sap lake near Ankor will slowly becum the Arial sea of Asia.
Big dams are also being constructed on the Salween River, some up in China and soon by Thighland Burma further down the river, assuming the two curent administration stay in power.
john
 
#10
Aha, yes that was it, I've just dug out 'The Fifty Years War: Isreal and the Arabs' and it says that a young Arafat and his fledgling PLO blew up irrigation pipes in August 1967, and that Isreal fought back by chucking them across the River Jordan.

Knew I read it somewhere :D
 

Similar threads

Latest Threads

Top