the water war myth


The Chronicle of Philanthropy/ PO Box 48/ Boulder, CO 80329-9954


BBC article: Water cut off in Mexican capital 


more and more stories about water shortages,  and water cutoffs are popping up, along with scholarly articles that the next resource wars will be over water. i’ve bought into this ‘water crisis -> water war’ concept for quite awhile. but then Slate560170975_d6838371a2 comes out with this article Dispelling the Water-War Myth.  it summarizes Wendy Barnaby’s essay in Nature that water wars have not happened because countries have worked through their water issues with trade and international agreements.  so why all the hysteria? water is certainly a scarce resource, and it is something everyone needs to survive. but the problem of water now and in the coming years/decades/centuries (?) is a combination of geography and then within those geographic areas –  who has access to as much water as they need. but how much people need and want is another example of the dichotomy between rich/poor, north/south and white/black. we’re having fights over oil in  complex, methodical and ridiculous ways now, so it would make sense for the ‘water wars’ to go the same way as the battle for oil. but maybe what Barnaby’s case studies show is that provisions are being made and set in place (trade and int’l agreements) so we won’t need to resort to arrows and steel armor {i always pictured ‘water wars’ to be set in trojan times}, but to consider access and distribution of water in a civilized manner, instead. 

Photo credit to daveynin

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