In spite of abundant supply, seventy five percent of our planet's water is contained in the oceans, and less than one percent of the total amount of available water is fit for human use. Furthermore,thirteen rivers and lakes are shared by 96 nation-states, in which the scarcity and uneven distribution of fresh water is one of the most destabilizing causes for conflict. Although there are thousands of treaties in existence, none of them address long lasting and equitable allocation of water resources. Nevertheless, because of the volatile past and future trends, as a case study, the Nile and Jordan river basins will be discussed in the context of failed negotiations, treaties and agreements. As a result, instead of analyzing water conflicts in terms of political and intellectual issues, a new approach focused on communal and regional centered water sharing agreements and negotiations will be proposed.
Water, as the most vital resource to sustain human life, Mandel(1992 ) states that more than forty percent of the world population lives in water bodies that are shared by multiple countries. For example, the Nile,Tigris-Euphrates, Ganges, Danube, and Colorado river basins are shared by more than one billion people. Unlike other static natural resource such as oil and land, obviously, a continuously flowing body of water makes it impossible for any state to claim sovereignty and absolute control. Mandel states ( 2009),” because of its sheer complexity, the issue of water is more difficult for policy makers and scholars to grasp in its entirety tends to be dealt with piecemeal both domestically and internationally”. (p.365).
Can there be certain cursors that might predict potential water hotspots ? In what Riley (2003) describes as aridity ,rapid population growth, and economic expansion can be triggers for inter-basin conflicts. Having met this criterion, the Nile river, which is the longest flowing river in the world shared by eleven countries, and over 450 million people is one of the most contested river basin. In the last 25 years, because of population growth, agricultural and economic expansion, the increased utilization of the Nile other than basic necessities created tension and the threat of violence by the dominant country. Nuzio (2013) elaborates that, because of aridity, the river Nile is the only water source for most countries along the basin. .For example, when Ethiopia announced the GRD, which is the largest dam in Africa capable of holding over 74 billion cubic meters, along one of the tributary of the Nile, the Egyptians felt so threatened that they announced if negotiations fail to curb the Ethiopian dam project, they will consider military action.(Stratfor, 2010).
Before this threat of conflict arose, were there any treaties or negotiations between the river Nile basin countries? If they exist, why can't the river basin states abide by it? According to Nunzio, (2013), the treaties of 1891,1902,...