People Are Missing the Point. The War for Water Has Already Begun.

As the world’s rivers dry up, states compete for water control.

Eugenio De Lucchi
4 min readAug 26, 2022


Photo by Matt Palmer on Unsplash

Water scarcity afflicts about 40 percent of the world’s population. And by 2025, this percentage will rise to 50 percent.

Over the past decades, global water use has grown more than twice the rate of population increase. And by 2030, global demand for freshwater will exceed actual availability by 40 percent.

The Tigris-Euphrates basin, which includes Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran, is consuming its groundwater faster than anywhere else.

China is in the midst of a historic water crisis, the worst on record; Europe is facing its worst drought in 500 years; the western United States is coming from 22 years of deep drought –the driest event in 1,200 years.

The world is rapidly running out of water. And as rivers and lakes empty, tensions over water control and partitioning flourish.

Locally, communities like Rio Verde, which rely on the Colorado River, are already in the trenches for water.

Last year, the border between California and Oregon was the scene of a noisy rebellion when federal officials cut off water to crops to limit the effects of drought on fish.

In addition to farmers and activists, all parties interested in claiming their part of the river joined the protests –indigenous tribes, hydroelectric power plant operators, and landowners.

Locally –regardless of the country– where there is water scarcity, there are conflicts.

In the northern plains of India, despite being among the most fertile agricultural areas on the planet, there are regular diatribes and clashes over water scarcity. While in many European countries, water rationing has sparked protests and demonstrations.

In terms of international relations, the situation looks far worse. For 2020–2022 alone, there are 140 clashes and disputes over water control. And from here in the future, considering the forecast, there will be many more.

The origin of international tensions



Eugenio De Lucchi