HCSS in the media

Water wars: early warning tool uses climate data to predict conflict hotspots

January 8th 2020 - 07:00

Tension over water scarcity is increasing across the globe. A new system flags up where this threatens to erupt into violence, reports The GuardianResearchers from six organisations, including HCSS, have developed an early warning system to help predict potential water conflicts as violence associated with water surges globally.

The Dutch government-funded Water, Peace and Security (WPS) global early warning tool, which was presented to the UN security council before it was launched formally last month, combines environmental variables such as rainfall and crop failures with political, economic and social factors to predict the risk of violent water-related conflicts up to a year in advance.

It is the first tool of its kind to consider environmental data, such as precipitation and drought, alongside socio-economic variables, a combination lacking in previous tools designed to predict water conflicts. It is available online for the public to use, but is aimed more specifically at raising awareness among policymakers, and people and parties in water-stressed regions.

The tool has already predicted conflicts that are likely to happen in 2020 in Iraq, Iran, Mali, Nigeria, India and Pakistan. Developers claim an 86% success rate in identifying conflict zones where at least 10 fatalities could occur.

The WPS tool was developed in a collaboration between the Dutch foreign ministry and Deltares, IHE Delft, International Alert, The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies, Wetlands International and World Resources Institute.

Read the full article in The Guardian here.

Michel Rademaker is the deputy Director of HCSS. He has fifteen years of hands-on experience as an officer in The Royal Netherlands Army, where he held various military operational and staff posts and also served a term in former Yugoslavia. He has a masters degree obtained at the University of Tilburg. After leaving the armed forces, Mr. Rademaker went on to work at the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) as a project and program manager and senior policy advisor on security topics for ten years. Eg. as NATO RTO project leader, he and his team developed serious gaming assessment methods and conducted several assessments of security technologies, and worked on numerous strategic security topics.