World Peace through Water?
Access to clean water is a driving force of conflict in many regions throughout the world.
Water security for us is the reliable availability of enough water for health, livelihoods and production. Regions without access to a sufficient or reliable level of clean consumable water are considered water scarce.
Water is an unevenly distributed resources with the 80% of the world’s population exposed to high levels of water insecurity. More than 30% of the world’s population live in countries that are affected by water stress caused by a wide range of factors including drought, sanitation and infrastructure.
Droughts alone are estimated to cause more than $5 billion in annual damages and affect over 50 million people a year.
The Link Between Water and Conflict
It is often said that the Third World War may be fought over access to water with such a large percentage of world populations facing current water scarcity and the potential for climate change to increase water security threats in the coming decades.
Research from Gleick demonstrated that water conflict occurences rose steadily from 1900 to 2007 with water friction often leading or exacerbating local and regional conflict.
Research and analysis has demonstrated a strong causal relationship between water insecurity and violenece. In the Middle East and African regions this often occurs in arid regions where access to water is a primary concern of local populaces. In countries including Syria, Iraq, Nigeria, and Somalia there is a strong correlation between local socio-political unrest and water stress, extreme weather and the depletion of groundwater reserves.
Drought as a catalyst for civil conflict
From 2007 onwards the Middle East suffered one of the worst periods of drought in the last 100 years.
In Syria this led to 1.5million people abandoning rural farms to move to urban areas. The resulting food shortages, low crop yields and unemployment are often cited as one of the leading causes of the civil war in which at least 80,000 people lost their lives.
In Yemen 90% of all water is used in agriculture. As water supplies diminish so does farming, food production and the population’s ability to sustain themselves economically. This leads to rising inequality, food shortages and unemployment. In Yemen this resulted in riots that targeted water infrastructure, further increasing the water scarcity problem within the country.
Shared water as a source of conflict
The majority of water sources are transboundary, providing access to water for multiple countries in a region. Globally there are over 250 water sources that cross the boundaries of 2 or more countries.
This can create extreme tensions and conflict where water from upstream such as dam building, diverting water flows, pollution or intense water resource use deprive countries further down the water shed access to a sufficient supply of water. Water inequality creates tension and conflict between these countries.
In the 1970’s Turkey and Syria started building dams and intensive use irrigation systems to improve agriculture and power generation throughout their countries. Downstream Iraq started to see the countries availability of water rapidly decline creating extreme tension between the three countries.
There have been a string of conflicts and tensions across the world including conflict between Israel, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine over the Jordan River, conflict between Egypt, Ehtiopia and Sudan over the Nile and Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan over the Aral Sea.
Access to natural resources has always been a source of conflict and water is one of the key drivers of conflict around the world.
Multifaceted solutions are needed to reduce the instance and likelihood of water conflict around the world. Improving infrastructure, water management systems and agricultural systems are the keys to ensuring high risk countries can become water self sufficient – reducing the risks of conflict both internal and external.
This is, of course, where we come in. Our atmospheric water generator technology provides a safe, clean and reliable solution to water shortages throughout the world. Turning water humidity into drinkable water provides the ultimate solution for countries – reducing the reliance on naturally occurring watersheds.
Our technology scales and can provide hundreds of millions of litres of water a day – enough to offset ALL a countries water scarcity. Our technology is more effective than desalination and has the lowest cost/litre of any non-watershed water source available in the world.