Faculty Advisor

Nick Kontogeorgopoulos

Area of Study

Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Publication Date

Summer 2018


In recent years, the subject of “water wars” has been often repeated in news cycles as the next major world crisis, and water has been projected as potentially the source of the next world war due to growing world population and increasing scarcity of water resources due to climate change and increasing water use. This study aimed to consider whether major conflict over water is possible within the coming decades and how interactions between developing states who share rivers will impact the lives of those who live in these river basins, using the lens of human security. To study this topic, I reviewed literature on water conflict, transboundary water management, and human security. I then looked at case studies of the Nile, the Indus, the Mekong, and the Jordan to see how the management of shared river basins has and is playing out in the real world. After reviewing these case studies and the extensive water conflict literature, I made the following conclusions. First, there will not be major conflict over water due to global integration and institutions. Different levels of cooperation between riparians will produce different outcomes for human security in developing states. The major areas that will be affected are those of agriculture and food security, drinking water and water security, and energy and dams. These are the biggest areas that will affect the lives of those living in shared river basins in developing states depending on how shared water resources are managed.


University of Puget Sound