While the total amount of available water on our planet does not change, there are multiple countries that are experiencing water scarcity today. It has become a precious resource, being used as currency when buying tanks or exercised as tool to exert political pressure. Where more than one country access a shared water body to serve agricultural, industrial and domestic purposes, there is an equal chance for cooperation or conflict. Access to water can also play an important military or political role during times of (international) armed conflict. Vital water infrastructure and dams can be attacked and water reservoirs poisoned. Although International Humanitarian Law vies to protect water in its Additional Protocols, the legal texts are formulated vaguely and unspecifically. Alternative soft-law instruments are seen as expresssions of political will rather than being used to prevent damage to water infrastructure during armed conflict. Existing law to prevent damage need to be strengthened, reformulated and enforced.
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