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Scrutiny
  
What? It’s not unlimited?!
Global dynamics in the light of water that’s getting scarcer
29/05/2008

D o transboundary rivers trigger inter-state conflicts or encourage cooperation? Klaus Toepfer, former director-general of the United Nations Environment Programme had prophesied possibilities of distinct wars over water issues a decade ago. Tensions escalated between the US and Mexico when Mexico extracted water for irrigation from rivers in America’s land. One of the prime reasons for Israel’s invasion over Gaza strip was getting control over the river Jordon. Syria and Iraq kept on accusing Turkey for not giving enough accessibility to water of The Euphrates’s river basin and digging dams one after another. But the severities and gruesome ramifications of fights for water are more visible in the poorest continent Africa. Hundreds died in battles between Uganda, Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt. Tensions reaches to the peak when Ethiopia set up irrigation projects in the Nile which restricted water flow to Egypt.

Surprisingly, the issue has taken a new twist with a recent report revealed by Oregon State University stating that transboundary rivers have led to more cooperation than conflicts in history. With over 263 transboundary rivers, over 400 inter-state treaties have been signed & only in 20 cases has violence been reported. The Indus river pact survived even after two deadly wars between India and Pakistan. Palestine and many West Asian countries will be more dependent on Israel once it succeeds in extracting drinkable water from sea.

Thus, to conclude, there may not be formal military wars, but surely conflict, discontent or tension will keep on rising as countries develop and water gradually becomes scarcer. Perhaps it’s time that the United Nations, instead of worrying about global warming, starts worrying about drawing up a global water treaty.

By:- Akram Hoque
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