A new paper speculates that may lead to water wars in the future. Military groups may capitalize on environmental stress. To be more than science fiction, the authors created socio-hydrological conditions which included the socio-economic value of water as a form of livelihood, as in agriculture.
They used hydrological modeling and statistical analysis, combined with a specific focus on socio-environmental, cultural and political mechanisms which is used for studying the socio-hydrological characteristics of conflicts in the Lake Chad region in Central Africa. This region has been affected by several conflicts in the last 20 years, such as the Boko Haram insurgency, the civil war in Darfur, and the coups in the Central African Republic. In addition to analyzing data on the level of human development, urbanisation of the region and ethnic composition of the population, the researchers used a model to create water and soil availability indicators for agriculture and human sustenance in general.
These data were related to the conflicts in the region between 2000 and 2015 and a method was developed that, through a multidimensional approach, manages to explore more secondary, indirect and complex relationships within the water-conflict nexus.
On the one hand, conflicts tend to persist in the same places and expand to the closest areas. Most conflicts occur in highly ‘anomalous’ locations (in terms of water availability) compared to the rest of the region, and the type of anomaly tends to be correlated with the dynamics of the conflict.
It's just a simulation but the authors believe they have created quantitative and qualitative descriptions of particular environmental “patterns” associated with specific conflict dynamics.