Water and Conflict: A Toolkit for Programming


Find the 2023 Toolkit Here

Competition over natural resources, including water, is often viewed as a driver of conflict and has emerged as a key component in many current and past conflicts. However, disputes over water, whether scarce or abundant, do not always result in violence. In fact, the management of water often brings parties together and encourages cooperation; it can be an integral factor in conflict prevention, peacebuilding, and reconciliation processes. Since fresh water is irreplaceable and indispensable to life, it is a valuable and contested resource that requires careful, conflict-sensitive management to ensure that it will continue to fulfill its purposes over the long term.

This toolkit is intended to help USAID and our partners understand the opportunities and challenges inherent to development programming in conflicts where water is an important issue. This document:

  1. Explores the relationship between water, conflict, and cooperation
  2. Highlights lessons learned from relevant development and peacebuilding programs
  3. Discusses options for programming based on past USAID and development community experiences
  4. Provides a Rapid Appraisal Guide to support officers in identifying and evaluating the conflict risk and peacebuilding potential of water programs

Together, the elements of this toolkit are designed to help raise awareness about the linkages between water resource management and conflict as well as opportunities for peacebuilding and integrating a conflict perspective into development programming.


Publication Date
Produced By
USAID Office of Conflict Management and Mitigation
52 pages
Implementing Partners
Population Focus
Related Countries