The weaponization of water in intercommunal conflicts

Mounting water scarcity has intensified the risk of actors weaponizing water resources and water infra­structure like wells and dams to harm their opponents in conflicts. However, the avail­ability and quality of water is location specific. It is just one determinant among other context specific factors of social systems that can promote or prevent the weaponi­zation of water. The occurrence of water-­related conflict strongly depends on context-­specific socio­economic and political determinants such as pre-­existing societal cleavages or recent conflict, high agriculture dependence, weak state capacity and high political exclusion. The proposed research project investigates which and how socio­economic and political conditions lead to a weaponization of water during inter­communal conflict. Based on a pilot global mapping study of conflicts in which weaponi­zation of water occurred in water scarce regions, the project conducts a comparative case study of inter­communal conflicts in the state of Mahara­shtra in India. Through­out this second largest state of the country, structural similarities – water scarcity, demographic development and cultural aspects – can be observed. However, only some state divisions are affected by the use of water as a weapon. This provides a variance on the dependent variable – the use of water as a weapon – and the ground to explore the determinants of this variation, employing a mixed-­methods design. Empirically, the project develops theory and hypotheses on the use of water as a weapon. This could allow to spot populations at risk and to pinpoint promising solutions to mitigate this water-­related security threat.
 

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An Ancient Practice with a New Face | 2020

Kohler, Christina (2020): An Ancient Practice with a New Face. The Use of Water as a Weapon in Times of Climate Change, PRIF Spotlight 9/2020, Frankfurt/M.

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Climate Change makes the Weaponization of Resources more effective than ever before | 2020

Kohler, Christina (2020): Climate Change makes the Weaponization of Resources more effective than ever before, Deutsche Gesellschaft für die Vereinten Nationen e.V., 17.3.2020.

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Understanding environmental terrorism in times of climate change: Implications for asylum seekers in Germany | 2019

Kohler, Christina/dos Santos, Carlos Denner/Bursztyn, Marcel (2019): Understanding environmental terrorism in times of climate change: Implications for asylum seekers in Germany, in: Research in Globalization, 1:1, DOI: 10.1016/j.resglo.2019.100006.

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