History of Water Conflicts

The Pacific Institute has created a 5,000-year timeline (http://www2.worldwater.org/conflict/index.html) of water conflicts that shows that water politics have been messy since the beginning. The timeline goes as far back as 3,000 BC and includes such examples as poisoning enemy wells, targeting and destroying hydroelectric dams, bombing of irrigation canals, and riots sparked by insufficient water supplies. The Pacific Institute indicated that “the problems are expected to continue.” By 2025, scientists predict that one in five humans will live in regions suffering from water scarcity and many analysts have predicted that pressure on water resources could spark wars in the coming years. Moreover, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world has not woken up to the water crisis caused by climate change. The latest report from the United Nations IPCC predicted a rise in global temperature of between .5 to 8.6 Fahrenheit by the late 21st century. More extreme weather such as droughts will lead to serious water shortages and affect agricultural output and food security. Development experts around the world have become increasingly concerned about water security in recent years. More frequent floods and droughts caused by climate change, pollution of rivers and lakes, urbanization, over-extraction of ground water, and expanding populations mean that many nations will face serious water shortages.