Past societies have battled bitterly over power, ideology and access to resources. Wars of the 20th century were fought over oil, but some scholars believe the 21st century’s wars will be sparked by a different resource — water.
‘Water wars’ conjures up images of deserts and unstable governments. Water conflict is for the Nile and the Jordan rivers, and certainly not for the U.S. If disputes do arise, they happen along the Colorado River in the Wild West, where water is scarce.
Think again. Alabama, Florida and Georgia have been locked in a legal war since 1990, with temporary agreements failing constantly. In 2007, water scarcity became so dire that the governor of Georgia led a statewide prayer for rain.
North Carolina is not off the hook; our state has been in conflict over this resource with Virginia, South Carolina and Tennessee.
In response to global water disputes and the need for greater collaboration, the United Nations declared 2013 the International Year of Water Cooperation. Celebrations culminate on World Water Day, which is held annually on March 22, to focus attention on the importance of sustainable freshwater management.