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    People collect water from shallow wells dug along the Shabelle River bed, which is dry due to drought in Somalia's Shabelle region, March 19, 2016

    'Water Conflicts Could Be a Trigger in a Place Ready to Have War' – Professor

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    Given that parts of the world are set to face perennial water shortages, some have already warned of the looming danger of so-called water wars. Speaking to Sputnik, Upmanu Lall, Director of the Columbia Water Center and the Alanand Carol Silberstein Professor of Engineering at Columbia University advised against overdramatizing the situation

    Sputnik: So you are an expert on sustainable water management. What do you think of this hypothesis of the danger of water wars eventually emerging?

    Unman Lall: So I think that locally within countries, within many countries, there will be conflicts over water and competition but   I don't foresee wars across country boundaries that are strictly due to water issues.

    Water competition and conflict over views could be a trigger in a place that is already ready to have a war, but I think this concept that water wars will emerge because of declining ground water is really not a reasonable concept, at all.

    Sputnik: One often hears the term sustainable water management. Would you agree that this is very important? Could you define what sustainable water management is?

    Upmanu Lall: There is a lot of talk of sustainable water management, and essentially what people do, is they point out that historically, the way that we have developed and allocated water subsequently led to a decline in water quantity and quality in a region and adverse impacts on the environment.

    And so the idea is that if we were doing sustainable water management – then these things would not happen. However, despite all the talk on that issue, I don't think I can easily point to any place in the world where sustainable water management is actually successfully practiced, with the exception perhaps of Singapore, which is small place and they've managed to create a system which is energy-intensive but in terms of managing all their water resources, it's completely an engineered and managed system and they can control it.

    But beyond that relatively small scale, I don't think there are good examples of people managing their water sustainably in the sense the people talk about.

    Hear more about the topic in this edition of our Weekend Special with Dr. Upmanu Lall.

    The views expressed in this article are solely those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

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