“The scientific literature on international water politics offers a wealth of case studies on individual river basins, but also an increasing number of larger-scale comparisons of many international freshwater catchments.
The latter work in particular offers a reasonably good basis for moving one step further, that is, from explanations of international water conflict in the past to predictions about which areas of the world are most prone to water conflicts in the future.
Basins at Risks
Building on new data on international river basins and conflict events, we revisited earlier research on the basins at risk of conflict and developed a prediction and forecasting approach for international river basin conflicts.
Whereas an earlier study by Yoffe, Wolf, and colleagues identified 29 basins at risk, our work, recently published in Global Environmental Politics, identifies 44 such river basins (see map). Only six basins simultaneously appear in the earlier and the new list: the Asi/Orontes, Cross, Han, Indus, Ob, and Tigris-Euphrates.
Note, however, that none of the river basins identified are likely to experience a “water war,” in the sense of an armed conflict over water. Instead, we expect conflicts to materialize primarily in the form of political tensions.”
Read more: New Security Beat