Fighting wars over water is usually just for fantasy writers and Hollywood epics. No more. The scary reality is that water is becoming so scarce in many parts of the world that people may be close to conflict. The possibility that the poor and waterless might go to war to quench their thirst is, in fact, quite real. At the opening of the fourth World Water Forum in Mexico City yesterday, people fought with police. They were angry at rich countries taking their water. Peaceful protestors carried fake wooden rifles a warning sign of what the future might hold.
The World Water Forum has highlighted many issues concerning water that divide the world into haves and have-nots. Representatives of 130 nations are meeting to discuss water management. Poor countries have accused rich countries of adding to the water crisis. Multinational corporations make more and more money from selling water to the poor. Mexico is the world’s second largest consumer of bottled water. Poor nations use just one-thirtieth of the water of many developed countries.