Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Water As A Weapon, And Weapons For Water

Someone has been poisoning the well—literally. In Afghanistan last week, nearly 400 boys were sickened after drinking their school’s water, 80 were hospitalized, and foul play is suspected, CNN reported. It’s not the first time. In April, BBC reported that more than 100 girls were hospitalized after drinking poisoned water at a school in Afghanistan’s northern region.
While the possibility of attackers using open water sources as a weapon poses a significant security risk, diminishing water supplies are expected to create security threats on a global scale. My colleague, Brett Walton, wrote an in-depth analysis of a report released this spring by the U.S. State Department, which predicts that water scarcity could drive global conflict. 

Water Conflict Map                            Map created by the Pacific Institute that shows water conflicts.

It already has in some places, like Brazil, where an average of 1 person each day is dying due to water conflicts amid the country’s worst drought in 50 years, AFP reported. Other instances of water violence that Circle of Blue has reported include:

Libya, 2011: Qaddafi loyalists turned off water supplies to half the country.

Ethiopia and Kenya, 2011: Fighting along the border was spurred by droughts.

Uganda, 2009: Domestic violence increased due to water shortages.

China and Tibet, 2008: Protesters and police clash over resource policy.
If you know of any other water conflicts happening, comment below or let me know via e-mail at codi@circleofblue.org so that we can continue to track this important issue. 

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