The lack of freshwater resources is one of the most critical problems that the world is facing today. As a great number of rivers and other water reservoirs are shared by two or more countries, the disputes over the control of water resources are becoming ever more common. Unless addressed timely and effectively, they can result in violent conflicts with the involvement of many countries. Though diplomacy and mediation are often regarded as the key to the resolution of water disputes, the problem can only be resolved with the promotion of efficient and economic use of the available water resources. While water contentions occur all around the world, they predominantly affect the Middle East, which suffers from severe water crisis. As stated in the Time article, India and Pakistan have been contending over the waters of the Indus River and its tributaries for more than fifteen years now.
At present, the conflict has reached its climax because India intends to build an upstream dam on the Indus river, while Pakistan fears that it will enable the manipulation of water resources by India. In this case, the root of the problem lies in the field of politics as Pakistan has always been distrustful and hostile in its relations with India. The conflict can be potentially mitigated (if not resolved) by providing Pakistan with the mechanisms of control and monitoring of India’s actions. Thus, a committee could be created with the involved of neutral countries that would monitor, assess and report the effects of the dam on the Pakistani water resources, with the provision that the dam operation has to be discontinued if any misuse is convincingly proven. This way, Pakistan would clearly see that dam does not cause any disruptions to its water supply. Intense cooperation between countries with the use of mediators is crucial in solving bilateral conflicts that are driven with deeply-rooted hostility.
While Pakistan accuses India of manipulating its resources, the lack of water in this country is mostly caused by outdated water treatment policies, large water wastage, inefficient agriculture and insufficient water storage facilities. Therefore, it is of vital importance that Pakistan and any other countries affected by this problem should reduce wasteful uses of water, implement advanced methods of desalination, and develop water recycling. Moreover, they should implement efficient irrigation systems to satisfy their agricultural needs. The financial and professional assistance of leading world organizations would largely facilitate the development of efficient water use in such regions. In the overall, both political and environmental actions are needed to resolve interstate water disputes.