Water conflicts: from ancient to modern times and in the future

A. N. Angelakis, M. Valipour, A.T. Ahmed, V. Tzanakakis, N.V. Paranychianakis, J. Krasilnikoff, R. Drusiani, L.W. Mays, F. El Gohary, D. Koutsoyiannis, S. Khan, and L.J. Del Giacco, Water conflicts: from ancient to modern times and in the future, Sustainability, 13 (8), 4237, doi:10.3390/su13084237, 2021.



Since prehistoric times, water conflicts have occurred as a result of a wide range of tensions and/or violence, which have rarely taken the form of traditional warfare waged over water resources alone. Instead, water has historically been a (re)source of tension and a factor in conflicts that start for other reasons. In some cases, water was used directly as a weapon through its ability to cause damage through deprivation or erosion or water resources of enemy populations and their armies. However, water conflicts, both past and present, arise for several reasons; including territorial disputes, fight for resources, and strategic advantage. The main reasons of water conflicts are usually delimitation of boundaries, waterlogging (e.g., dams and lakes), diversion of rivers flow, running water, food, and political distresses. In recent decades, the number of human casualties caused by water conflicts is more than that of natural disasters, indicating the importance of emerging trends on water wars in the world. This paper presents arguments, fights, discourses, and conflicts around water from ancient times to the present. This diachronic survey attempts to provide water governance alternatives for the current and future.

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Our works referenced by this work:

1. D. Koutsoyiannis, Revisiting the global hydrological cycle: is it intensifying?, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 24, 3899–3932, doi:10.5194/hess-24-3899-2020, 2020.