Follow us by email

Friday, January 11, 2013

Wars Over Water?

The Christian Science Monitor has a short but interesting article about water scarcity and conflict worth checking out.

Changes in climate, especially warmer temperatures globally, raise the specter of water shortages, truly one of the most fearsome potential challenges in the decades ahead.

Moises Velasquez-Manoff, the article’s author, observes that there is only one incident in recorded history of violent conflict between nations over the issue of water scarcity.

Generally problems between sovereign nation’s arising over citizens of a particular country not having enough water are resolved through treaties and trade agreements. But within countries, fighting over water — life’s most precious resource — is certainly not unheard of.

The Darfur conflict, perhaps the contemporary era’s most famously ugly quagmire, is tremendously fueled by water shortage issues.

But fighting over water isn’t strictly a climate change problem.

Villages that do not have direct access to clean water sources are well-acquainted with the kind of conflict that this kind of lack inspires. And it need not be physically violent in order to be stressful and tiresome.

Petrona Hernandez Urban, a young Honduran woman whose village recently built a clean water system with HOPE International Development Agency, says, “How nice to have clean water in the house and to be with my children! No more suffering, tiredness, and conflict between us women in the community to get water in the wells that don’t have sufficient water.”

Peace through development is something that we talk about often. Peace begins, of course, at the level of the household, the village, the community. There are already wars over insufficient water. Whether the future brings about conflicts on a larger scale over this issue is unknown. But we can surely work for peace for women like Petrona, and we can do this today.