NATO ACT CFC: Water Security: Afghanistan Transboundary Water Resources in Regional Context

08 Wild Cards, 12 Water

logo cfcWater Security: Afghanistan Transboundary Water Resources in Regional Context

NATO Allied Command Operations (ACO) Civil-Military Fusion Centre (CFC)

Rainer Gonzalez Palau
Afghanistan Team Leader
Social and Strategic Infrastructure Desk Officer

This document outlines the global trends in water security and the threats to regional stability posed by the transboundary water resources. Moreover, the document presents salient details in the particular case of Afghanistan’s transboundary water resources, reviews disputes over the four main international basins Afghanistan shares with its neighbouring countries, and introduces a framework to properly manage water resources. Further information on these issues is available at www.cimicweb.org. Hyperlinks to source material are highlighted in blue and underlined in the text.

Within the next twenty years, the global demand for water will exceed expected supply by forty per cent, according to a report by McKinsey & Company. Since “water security is the gossamer that links together the web of food, energy, climate, economic growth, and human security challenges,” a shortage of water will escalate food prices, disrupt energy availability, limit trade, increase refugee flows and undermine authority, says the World Economic Forum (WEF). If the worsening water security structural problem is unheeded, it will inevitably tear into various parts the global economic system. Illustratively, water was at the heart of the agricultural challenges that caused the unprecedented volatility in food prices between 2007 and 2010. As economies grow and societies develop more water is needed to match the accelerating demand for food and obtain energy to supply the rapidly increasing urban and industrial systems. At the same time rainfall and weather patterns shift and rivers and groundwater sources are becoming more polluted.

This report is divided into four sections: (i) global trends in water security issues and how these can affect global stability in the future; (ii) drivers of transboundary water management conflicts in Central and South Asia; (iii) overview of the four critical international basins that Afghanistan shares with neighbouring countries; and (iv) recommendations by experts for improving water management and avoiding conflict over transboundary water resources.

PDF (15 Pages):  201310_CFC_Afghanistan_Transboundary_Resources_final