Demand, Supply, and Restraint: Determinants of Domestic Water Conflict and Cooperation

Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Böhmelt, Tobias; Thomas Bernauer; Halvard Buhaug; Nils Petter Gleditsch; Theresa Tribaldos & Gerdis Wischnath (2014) Demand, Supply, and Restraint: Determinants of Domestic Water Conflict and Cooperation, Global Environmental Change 29: 337–348.

This article focuses on one of the most likely empirical manifestations of the “environment- conflict” claim by examining how demand for and supply of water may lead to domestic water conflict. It also studies what factors may reduce the risk of conflict and, hence, induce cooperation. To this end, the article advances several theory-based arguments about the determinants of water conflict and cooperation, and then analyzes time-series cross-section data for 35 Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and Sahel countries between 1997 and 2009. The empirical results show that demand-side drivers, such as population pressure, agricultural productivity, and economic development are likely to have a stronger impact on water conflict risk than supply-side factors, represented by climate variability. The analysis also reveals that violent water conflicts are extremely rare, and that factors conducive to restraint, such as stable political conditions, may stimulate cooperation. Overall, these results suggest that the joint analysis of demand, supply, and restraint improves our ability to account for domestic water-related conflict and cooperation.

Read the article here (Open Access)