Water and wars



In “Challenging the Rhetoric of Water Wars” (Eos, In Brief, September 5, 2000, p. 410) Randy Showstack reported on the speech given by Minister Kader Asmal upon receiving the 2000 Stockholm Water Prize. This prize was well deserved for the tremendous progress South Africa has made under Minister Asmal's leadership in addressing basic water needs after apartheid. Indeed, I was one of his nominators for this prize and am an ardent fan of his bold programs. But his remarks about water-related conflicts need to be qualified. In his speech, Minister Asmal noted that water scarcity is a “crisis of biblical proportion,” but also suggested “there is not a shred of evidence” to back up arguments that there are water “wars.”