“Water scarcity has received a lot of attention over the last three decades. It has been predicted to be the source of future wars and many experts have publicly warned about the dangers of water scarcity as the main factor for armed conflict in the Middle East and Africa. Despite the predictions by experts in this field, there is still no evidence that water or even food scarcity has been the single or most important cause for an interstate war.
It could be that the attention given to the issue at national, regional, and global levels produced initiatives to reduce this possibility. Another reason may be that the high costs of war in human lives and resources has made it less attractive while regional and bilateral cooperation proved more effective and less costly in addressing the issue.
Whatever the reasons behind water scarcity’s relatively low correlation with armed conflict, the combination of a water-related dispute with other conditions may fuel radicalization of national security objectives or interstate armed conflict. Furthermore, a U.S. intelligence report on Global Water Security stated that water scarcity will become a source for failed states by 2023.
Water scarcity is one of the major problems in the Area of Responsibility (AOR) of U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM), especially in the Middle East. Water availability in these countries is among the lowest in the world. As most water in the region is used for agricultural purposes, its scarcity not only affects human consumption and domestic use but also brings the ensuing possibility of food scarcity and the potential for internal or regional conflict that comes with it.”
Read more: Small Wars Journal