Many countries are undertaking water infrastructure construction projects that may negatively affect neighbors and increase the potential for future conflicts over water access.
Areas of Africa, the Americas, the Middle East, South Asia and the southern Balkans are at risk of becoming hotspots of conflict over water access, according to a new study which examined river basins and local politics to find out where tensions could arise.
The researchers looked at more than 1,400 planned water infrastructure projects across the world, such as dams or water diversion projects.
The study, called “Assessment of transboundary river basins for potential hydro-political tensions,” was commissioned by the UN’s Transboundary Waters Assessment Program. Quoted from sputnik.
While the highest number of proposed dams on Transboundary Rivers is in Asia, where 807 water construction projects are planned, some of the most contentious areas of hydro-political conflict are in Africa.
For example, the Nile River flows through ten countries but there is no comprehensive international agreement between them to cooperate on water infrastructure. The researchers point out that Ethiopia is constructing several dams on tributaries of the Nile in its uplands, which will divert water from countries downstream, including Egypt.
The study found that other parts of Africa, Central America, the northern part of the South American continent, the southern Balkans, Southeast Asia and South Asia are also home to river basins with a potential for conflict over water resources, due to environmental political, and economic factors.
The researchers called on politicians to come up with measures to cope with the “huge adaptation challenge.”