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:
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.