Water Conflict

In an ongoing effort to understand the connections between water resources, water systems, and international security and conflict, the Pacific Institute initiated a project in the late 1980s to track and categorize events related to water and conflict, which has been continuously updated since. The database, updated in May 2018, presents the information as a chronology and map. Use the links below to explore the chronological list of events or the interactive events map.

View the Water Conflict Chronology

Chronological List Map
table listing conflicts over water that can be filtered by region, conflict type, and date range. An interactive map showing the geographic location where conflicts over water have occurred and information about each conflict.

Basis for Including an Event

Items are included when there is violence (injuries or deaths) or threats of violence (including verbal threats, military maneuvers, and shows of force). We do not include instances of unintentional or incidental adverse impacts on populations or communities that occur associated with water management decisions, such as populations displaced by dam construction or impacts of extreme events such as flooding or droughts. (Based on this new definition, some previous entries were removed in May 2018.)

Form of Conflict

Events are categorized based on the use, impact, or effect that water had within the conflict.

Trigger: Water as a trigger or root cause of conflict, where there is a dispute over the control of water or water systems or where economic or physical access to water, or scarcity of water, triggers violence.

Weapon: Water as a weapon of conflict, where water resources, or water systems themselves, are used as a tool or weapon in a violent conflict.

Casualty: Water resources or water systems as a casualty of conflict, where water resources, or water systems, are intentional or incidental casualties or targets of violence.

Additional definitions, methods, and sources of the Water Conflict Chronology can be found here.

To Contribute or Access Older Versions of the Chronology

Please email contributions, with full citations and supporting information, to Peter Gleick using our Contact Page.

If you need access to the older version of this dataset, please contact us at info@pacinst.org.

 

 

Click here for the Water Conflict Chronology credits.