Water as a weapon

At the beginning of this month, the Islamic Group (former ISIL) took control over the Syrian region where the Lake Assad is located. Lake Assad contains the reservoir for the major hydroelectric power station of the country, and represents a critical point within the drinking and irrigation water national supply system. Under the rebels control the water level of the reservoir, and therefore its supply capacity, has dropped until alarming values. The main reason for this descent is the unsustainable increase of the electricity production of the al-Tabqa dam, promoted by the armed group. Not only the rebels, but also the government, pushed by the failures and brakes down of other electricity sources more secure, is triggering a suicide used of the hydroelectric production.

In the Gaza Strip the situation is not only miserable, but unbelievable. The sanitation of the water for 400.000 people has a price: 3 MWh and the eternally cyclic debt, condonable maybe if it was not such an efficient political and even military instrument. I remember one Iraqi colleague telling me how the rich and extent wetland area of the Hawizeh Marshes suffered the consequences of a long time of fighting, impacting directly on civilians´ way of life.

148 countries in the world share at least a river watershed with their neighbours. This should represent a strong opportunity of collaboration and joined advance, but also it might turn into an important source of extortion. Water management has stopped being a part of the national governance programmes in many regions to become into additional instruments for wars or conflicts. The human and ecological costs of this unconcern about the future of a critical resource are unpredictable.

But what can "normal" people do in this terrible situation? I am aware of the efficient military protection of the oil fields and refineries, provided from national governments, international community, global organizations, revel armies or insurgents sides; like if these fields were more important than water reserves… I am just wondering how can we, all of us without any effective authority, exhort those ones who has the enough supremacy to set the limits to change this -sadly extensive- situation by, for example, providing a similar -or better- protection for water than for oil?