Water, Drought, Climate Change: Understanding the War in Syria

Starting in 2006 and lasting through 2011, Syria suffered the worst long-term drought and the most severe set of crop failures in recorded history. In a new research paper, Peter Gleick looked at the role of regional drought, unsustainable water management policies, and climatic conditions in contributing to the severe conflict in Syria.

Many factors influenced the civil war in Syria, including long-standing political, religious, and ideological disputes; economic dislocations from both global and regional factors; and the consequences of water shortages influenced by drought, ineffective watershed management, and the growing influence of climate variability and change.

DroughtSyria

Gleick concludes that the drastic decrease in water availability, water mismanagement, agricultural failures, and related economic deterioration contributed to Syria’s population dislocations and the migration of rural communities to nearby cities. These factors further contributed to urban unemployment, economic dislocations, food insecurity for more than a million people, and subsequent social unrest. Key to mitigating risks in the region are improvements in water-use efficiency and productivity in agriculture, better management and monitoring of groundwater resources, and comprehensive international agreements on managing and sharing the rivers that cross political borders.

Read the full report: http://pacinst.org/news/water-drought-climate-change-conflict-in-syria/

2 Comments

  • Reply June 16, 2014

    Maxim Heiddeger

    Political, religious & ideological reasons for war and land-grabbing – but ultimately, it all comes down to resources. And in this case, the most basic of all resources – H2O

  • Reply June 17, 2014

    Jason X

    Maybe ISIS is just really misunderstood and all they are really trying to do is escape the severe drought in Syria in their march toward Baghdad to hopefully find some good drinking water!! Uh, well, prbly not actually…

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