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World Water: Water Conflict

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Freshwater is the limiting factor for terrestrial life on earth, and as human populations have grown and expanded through the centuries, they have competed for access to clean water, sometimes leading to conflict. Here, readers will find a chronology of water conflicts compiled by Peter Gleick, co-founder and President Emeritus of the Pacific Institute, "a global water think tank that combines science-based thought leadership with active outreach to influence local, national, and international efforts in developing sustainable water policies." This chronology, which underwent a major revision in 2018, summarizes water conflicts (defined here as events including violence or threats of violence) dating as far back as 3000 BCE, including the year, region, conflict type, description, and information sources. Water conflicts are categorized based on the role water played in the event: triggers, where water was the root cause of the conflict; weapons, where water itself was a tool of violence; and casualties, where water resources or systems were "intentional or incidental casualties or targets of violence." As of this write-up, the chronology includes more than 650 water conflicts (with nearly 300 occurring since 2010), and it can be viewed as a table or interactive map, both of which can be filtered by date, region, and conflict type.
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GEM Subject
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Scout Publication
Date of Scout Publication 2019-03-22
Archived Scout Publication URL https://scout.wisc.edu/report/2019/0322

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