Now in an updated edition, this pioneering and authoritative study considers the profound impact of the growing global water crunch on international peace and security as well as possible ways to mitigate the crisis. Although water is essential to sustaining life and livelihoods, geostrategist Brahma Chellaney argues that it remains the world’s most underappreciated and undervalued resource. One sobering fact is that the retail price of bottled water is already higher than the international spot price of crude oil. But unlike oil, water has no substitute, raising the specter of water becoming the next flashpoint for conflict.
Water war as a concept may not mesh with the conventional construct of warfare, especially for those who plan with tanks, combat planes, and attack submarines as weapons. Yet armies don’t necessarily have to march to battle to seize or defend water resources. Water warsin a political, diplomatic, or economic senseare already being waged between riparian neighbors in many parts of the world, fueling cycles of bitter recrimination, exacerbating water challenges, and fostering mistrust that impedes broader regional cooperation and integration. The danger is that these water wars could escalate to armed conflict or further limit already stretched food and energy production.
Writing in a direct, nontechnical, and engaging style, Brahma Chellaney draws on a wide range of research from scientific and policy fields to examine the different global linkages between water and peace. Offering a holistic picture and integrated solutions, his book has become the recognized authority on the most precious natural resource of this century and how we can secure humankind’s water future.
Brahma Chellaney is a strategic thinker and a geostrategist tracking major international trends. He is a professor of strategic studies at the independent Center for Policy Research in New Delhi, a fellow of the Nobel Institute in 'slo, a trustee of the National Book Trust, and an affiliate with the International Centre for the Study of Radicalization at King’s College London. He has served as a member of the Policy Advisory Group headed by the foreign minister of India and an advisor to India’s National Security Council.
As a specialist on international strategic issues, he has held appointments at Harvard University, the Brookings Institution, the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, and the Australian National University. He has also been a Bosch Public Policy Fellow at the Transatlantic Academy in Washington, DC.
Chellaney is the author of nine books, including Asian Juggernaut: The Rise of China, India, and Japan and Water: Asia’s New Battleground, winner of the 2012 Asia Society Bernard Schwartz Book Award.
Introduction: Our Most Precious Resource under Threat Chapter 1: The Specter of Water Wars Chapter 2: The Power of Water Chapter 3: The Future of Water Chapter 4: Changing Water Cooperation, Competition, and Conflict Chapter 5: Shaping Water for Peace and Profit Appendix A: Web Links to International Water Norms Appendix B: Genuine Intercountry Water-Sharing Treaties Currently in Effect Glossary
What People are Saying About This
Stanley A. Weiss
We're all familiar with conflicts over territory, but Brahma Chellaney persuasively argues that the most precious resource in these disputes is not land, but water. In a world where nearly one billion people lack access to clean water, Chellaney shows how today's economic growth could lead to tomorrow's 'water wars.' With his policy prescriptions, he also gives us a way to stop these conflicts before they begin. This is a vital book for anybody interested in diplomacy and conflict in the twenty-first century.
—Stanley A. Weiss (founding chairman, Business Executives for National Security)
Brahma Chellaney’s Water, Peace, and War is the first work to make water the center of its concern and to argue that water is emerging as a more important issue for the fate of mankind than population growth, food supply, pollution, peak oil, other ‘peak’ commodities, and climate change. The author’s writing is fluid, and complex materials are handled with clarity. This is an excellent contribution to a tradition of important works that have argued in one way or another that the world faces some kind of ecological crisis.
—Andrew Nathan (Columbia University)
The risk of conflict over water is growing ever more severe, and here, at last, is a book that analyzes water through the lens of international peace and security. Brahma Chellaney performs an invaluable service by identifying the multiple causes of global water stress and showing what must be done if conflict over scarce and contested supplies is to be averted. — Michael Klare, Hampshire College.
Robert M. Hathaway
Frightened about terrorism? Proliferation? Big-power rivalries? You had better start worrying about water. Brahma Chellaney tells you why, in a tour de force sweeping in its breadth, staggering in its detail, and sobering in its analysis. — Robert M. Hathaway, Woodrow Wilson Center