Water and Conflict

Significant Figures by Peter Gleick

Category archives for Water and Conflict

Droughts – especially severe droughts – are terribly damaging events. The human and ecosystem costs can be enormous, as we may relearn during the current California drought. But they are also opportunities – a chance to put in place new, innovative water policies that are not discussed or implemented during wet or normal years. In…

Peak Water in the American West

  It is no surprise, of course, that the western United States is dry. The entire history of the West can be told (and has been, in great books like Cadillac Desert [Reisner] and Rivers of Empire [Worster] and The Great Thirst [Hundley]) in large part through the story of the hydrology of the West,…

For some time now, proponents of the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” have claimed there was little or no evidence of real risk to groundwater. But as the classic saying goes: “the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence” of a problem. And the evidence that fracking can contaminate groundwater and drinking…

There is a long history of conflicts over water – the Pacific Institute maintains an online, searchable chronology of such conflicts going back 5,000 years. There were dozens of new examples in 2012, in countries from Latin America to Africa to Asia.  (A full update for 2012 has been posted.) Access to water and the…

The Nile River – river of legend – is not just a river in Egypt. It is the lifeblood of 11 different African nations and the longest river in the world, extending over 6,500 kilometers long and draining a watershed of over 3 million square kilometers. The eleven nations that share the Nile are Egypt,…

The Colorado River, recently named America’s most endangered river, supports millions of people in the American Southwest and northwest Mexico and helps irrigate millions of acres of land. It is shared by seven states in the U.S. and Mexico, through a complex series of legal agreements and treaties. Yet every drop of water on the river…

World Water Day 2013

Some thoughts for today: the bad news and good news for World Water Day. [First, I think every day should be World Water Day, not just March 22nd, but hey, that’s just me.] Stop taking your tap water for granted. Go to your tap, draw a glass of water, and drink it. Then remember that…

Water at the Movies: 2013 Update

Water is a theme that runs through all forms of popular culture, from books to myths to Hollywood and international films, with a growing number of shorter video pieces posted online at YouTube and similar sites. Having trouble keeping your Netflix list populated? Below are some classic (good and bad) movies – good and bad…

Water Wars? Here in the US?

OK, put away your guns. We’re not talking shooting wars, at least not yet, at least not in the U.S. We’re talking politicians shooting off their mouths, political wars, and court battles. But water is serious business. But it is a different story around the world, where there is a long and sad history of…

One of the reasons that climate change is such a big issue is because the global climate is an integral part of the Earth’s entire ecosystem, tied to so many of the big and little things that society cares about. Figuring out how all these complicated pieces tie together is hard, as is linking these…