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  • An often overlooked aspect of climate change is water availability. As water becomes scarcer,

  • people get more aggressive in protecting their water rights. In fact, the fight over who

  • gets to use the world’s water has been a long, ongoing battle. So, who’s fighting

  • over water?

  • Well, water is arguably the world’s most important resource. Nearly all human activity,

  • including commerce, transportation, sanitation, migration patterns, and survival are intrinsically

  • linked to water. Yet, nearly 800 million people, or 11% of the global population lacks access

  • to clean drinking water.

  • Part of this comes from the distinction between human rights, economic viability, conflicting

  • laws, and environmental concerns. This means that there is rarely a solution which satisfies

  • all involved.

  • According to one study, between 1950 and 2000, there were more than 1,800 international conflicts

  • over water. This doesn’t even include domestic or internal disputes.

  • Generally, water disputes that deal with international commerce, like fishing or agriculture, are

  • addressed by the World Trade Organization. They even have internal groups to deal with

  • disputes.

  • When it comes to domestic water management and resources, the UN steps in. However, they

  • focus more on activism and education to prevent conflicts, rather than solving existing ones.

  • For example, in the Middle East, the UN runs a program to train water professionals to

  • avoid future disagreements over how water is internationally allocated.

  • In particular, the Middle East is one of the most severe water crisis zones. It’s been

  • said that future wars in the Middle East are more likely to be fought over water than over

  • oil. With only 1% of the world’s freshwater available to about 5% of the global population,

  • disputes over river basins have the potential to spiral out of control in an already volatile

  • area. Primarily in question are the Euphrates, Tigris, and Jordan rivers. For example, the

  • Jordan river runs along Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, and Palestine. However, Israel has

  • restricted Palestine’s access to the river as part of their ongoing conflict.

  • Those who control water can use it to their political advantage. Another popular example

  • is that of Bolivia’s privatization of water. In 2000, water rights in Cochabamba were given

  • over to a private company, which proceeded to raise prices significantly. This caused

  • protests and eventually riots during which a civilian was killed. Eventually the privatization

  • was reversed.

  • Water availability might be one of the most conflict prone issues the world has to deal

  • with. Especially as populations continue grow while the amount of water continues to drop.

  • Water shortages affect businesses, economies, and populations, and no country is immune

  • to the effects of running out of water. Unfortunately, this complicated issue has no obvious solution

  • outside of cooperation and compromise.

  • One reason that the borders and rights are so complex is because of the value of the

  • large bodies of water beneath them. To learn about the science of aquifers and how they

  • were formed, check out this video from DNews. There’s a link in the description below!

  • Thanks for watching TestTube Newsplease subscribe.

An often overlooked aspect of climate change is water availability. As water becomes scarcer,

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B1 INT UK water middle east jordan palestine river east

Which Countries Are Fighting Over Water?

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    Lynn Chen   posted on 2016/07/21
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