Politics, Conflicts and Rivalries about Water

Frédéric Lasserre
20th november 2014

Several analysts and commentators have asserted several wars are going to be fought over water in the 21st
century. Water is certainly a political tool and the advent of large-scale water diversions in international basins compounds the risk for conflicts: here, the combination
of fast-growing demand for food; engineering means to divert large volumes of water; and the fordian desire to control and reshape the territory helped the advent of the idea rivers could be transferred where water was needed, often without much consideration for environmental consequences or political aspects. In several basins, the fast-growing demand for water put the adaptation capacity of several societies to the test, stoking tensions that some observers feared could degenerate into violent conflicts.
In this context, to what extent is international law a useful tool to try and prevent conflicts over water? Into what form did international law on water evolve over time, and is a general institution overseeing water issues conceivable?


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