‘Water wars’ refers to the idea that some countries, which hold enough water to be able to export it, control headwaters of a river, or hold reservoirs/large sources of water, have an extremely strong source of leverage over water-scarce countries. At times, this causes water to be thought of in simplistic terms as a commodity, rather than a basic building block of life, access to which is detailed in several international human rights conventions, but not explicitly recognized as a self-standing human right in international treaties. When countries deny other states water or imply they might use water as leverage for political gain, this is water conflict, and it’s brewing in Central Asia.

Interesting that water is referred to as a human “right”. It is an economic good if and when it becomes scarce. That to date water in many countries has been considered a free good due to abundance, does not translate that into a human “right”.

Historically wars have always been fought over commodities: land, arable land, cattle, oil, the list is endless. Simply add one more commodity to that list.

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