Freshwater Scarcity and Hydropolitical Conflict: Between the Science of Freshwater and the Politics of Conflict


  • Alex S. Wilner Doctoral Candidate of Political Science, Dalhousie University


This paper evaluates and assesses hydropolitical conflict and maps the interface currently developing between water scarcity and political crisis and conflict. It discusses the politics of conflict over water in a manner that highlights several key components that represent the underpinnings of a model for studying international conflict over freshwater resources. To this end, the paper itself is presented in two sections. Part one is a discussion of the political ramifications that stem from the scientific characteristics of freshwater in order to understand the linkages between freshwater and political behaviour and international conflict. Part two then advances a foundational construct for a general hydropolitical conflict model that can be used to evaluate and test the basic assumptions of the hydro-conflict nexus.

Author Biography

Alex S. Wilner, Doctoral Candidate of Political Science, Dalhousie University

Alexandre S. Wilner is a Doctoral Candidate of Political Science at Dalhousie University, having completed a Bachelor’s degree in 2003 at McGill University and a Master's degree in 2004 at Dalhousie University. His academic interests involve mapping the emerging interface between resource scarcity, environmental degradation, and international crisis and conflict. His Master’s thesis, "Environmental Security and the Evolving Parameters of State Security: Water Politics in the Middle East and North Africa," evaluated the potential likelihood of interstate conflict involving hydropolitical variables.




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