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Critical Review

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"Water and war" (2009) was written by Steve Lonergan and the website of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) published the article in 2009. In his article, Lonergan claimed that increasing water shortage will lead to tensions over water relevant issues in the future. But the risk of conflicts about water on a large scale is low.

??Generally, Lonergan provided many valuable ideas and I agree to his thinking. But the article has not sufficient relevant details and statistics to support his opinions. It can also be more critical by adjusting some paradoxical statements and modifying its structure.

Taking a view over the article, the author started from some background information which indicates the problem of water scarcity is threatening the peace of mankind, especially in the Middle East. And the problem has been highly concerned by the UN. There are four reasons which cause water scarcity and related tensions among people. Specifically, the increasing unbalance between water supply and demand would be the basic reason. And water quality degradation also reduces the amount of usable water. Two other reasons are that the distribution of water is affected by complicated geopolitical situation and there is lack of unified legal system to manage water resource.

After described the reasons, the author tried to illustrate the worldwide effects of water scarcity and evaluated the probability of water war. The sentences referenced from Hydrology Professor Uri Shamir clearly declared the author's stand which is that water related issues would rather be the triggers to large conflicts than the main reasons. Maybe to prove his statement, the author provided some recommendations to address problems related to water shortage such as making long-term water supply plans and improving water efficiency. He also mentioned two factors over water related tensions which are food imports and competition for water resource increase. But they could be settled by international agreements and investments. Additionally, it is hard to find some historical cases of violent conflict which are caused by water scarcity.



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