Before he became UN Secretary General, Boutros Boutros Ghali raised the spectre of a war over the waters of the Nile. No nation has yet gone to war over water. But this Earth Report finds disturbing evidence of a rising number of international water flashpoints: The Rio Grande runs 1600 km along the border between Mexico and the United States, a border which has been the scene for many a past conflict. Although the river itself has been peacefully managed for generations, today tension is returning to the waters of the Rio Grande; in Africa, Angola has emerged from a civil war to be confronted with the prospect of a new conflict with its neighbours over the Okavango, the last great undeveloped river in Africa. The countries it flows through, Angola, Namibia and Botswana, now want to use Okavango waters to help develop their economies. Unless a binding agreement is made, the river and its water could become a potential source of regional conflict; and in the Middle East water is more important than anything else. Without a reliable supply, life simply isn’t possible. In the Israeli-occupied West Bank, the balance of power is played out in the allocation of water rights between Israelis and Palestinians.
Films in this series