Water scarcity is a reality that can cause a great deal of stress on a population’s food supply and water infrastructure. With decreased rainfall hindering crops, creating food shortages that directly affect one tenth of the world, governments are turning towards smarter ways to cope with the problem. This wouldn’t be the case prior to the new technology and techniques available today.
In previous times, when water shortages could not be addressed as effectively, the lack of resources would often lead to violent conflicts. Around 4,500 years ago it was written that a local dispute between Lagash and Umma, cities residing in what is modern day Iraq, sparked a violence due to a redirected water source. These types of skirmishes were more common in previous centuries, turning neighbors against one another.
In ancient China and during the time when Pharaohs ruled Egypt there were wars fought to maintain clean water sources. The life blood of crops and a huge factor on commerce, it was always seen as a priority to protect the resource. Without it, a civilization could fall quickly do to unrest causing an upheaval of the ruling class.
While we do not see as many conflicts today as we did in the past there are still some areas of the world where water scarcity is still an issue. In the Middle East and Sub Saharan Africa, water infrastructure can be ill maintained and have had direct correlation to violence in the area. Over the last 20 years that have been studies that show after a long lasting drought there are spikes in civil war, violence, and regime change.
These acts of violence, combined with lack of water, also cause migration across borders. Civilians are migrating to find new resources and to escape the violence plaguing their country. If a solution is not put into place violence, mass migration, and lack of food could become a global catastrophe.
Luckily some countries are already taking the step to address the issue and get out ahead of the problem. Morocco is one of those countries. “The government has been investing in modernizing irrigation infrastructure to provide farmers with more efficient water services that enable them to adjust more easily to variations in water availability.” wrote Laura Tuck, World Bank Group Vice President for Sustainable Development.
These initiatives include; smart water policies, water-management strategies, improved planning for water infrastructure, and incentives for increased efficiency. They are also tackling infrastructure head-on to make sure every aspect that has to do with water allocation is effect in reducing waste. The Moroccan Government is going to promote this agenda in order to help foster better water management globally.
Of course not every country will follow suit but it is important to have governmental bodies leading the way on water management. There is going to be an increased need for clean and pure water in the near future. The biggest question is, what are you doing to help?