Water Conflict Revisited: Fresh Water Scarcity as a Key Predictor of Contemporary Armed Conflict
For over 30 years, scholars have investigated the direct relationship between fresh water scarcity and armed conflict using a wide variety of analytical techniques. However, this body of literature has yet to provide a comprehensive empirical analysis that supports such a relationship for both interstate and intrastate conflicts. The ensuing report fills in the gaps of the existing discourse by closely reassessing the variables under consideration and employing a cross-sectional, time-series analysis of 172 states across the globe. The results from numerous negative binomial regression tests provide evidence supporting a statistically significant positive relationship between water scarcity and armed conflict; states having lower population percentages with access to improved water sources experience more instances of armed conflict – both interstate and intrastate. These findings prompt the conclusion that water scarcity is a significant predictor of armed conflict. As fresh water resources become increasingly limited across the globe, this study will continue to gain relevance, offering evidence to inform decisions about armed-conflict prevention in the international community.