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“The earliest laws we know of concern water,” writes ACSF faculty fellow Gail Holst-Warhaft, director of Cornell’s Mediterranean Studies Initiative 

Water Policy for a Wellspring of Conflict

September 25, 2014

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“The earliest laws we know of concern water,” writes ACSF faculty fellow Gail Holst-Warhaft, director of Cornell’s Mediterranean Studies Initiative. “In the dry lands of the Mediterranean, North Africa, and the Middle East, water was always a precious substance, even if it was free.”

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Holst-Warhaft is coeditor, with Tammo Steenhuis and Francesca de Châtel, of a new book on the water crisis in the Mediterranean and Middle East. Water Scarcity, Security, and Democracy: A Mediterranean Mosaic brings together a multidisciplinary team of experts to weigh in on the problems at stake and the next steps in water management and policy for one of the world’s most arid regions.

Droughts, floods, and water pollution are a reality in the Mediterranean basin, and shared water resources often drive armed conflict—but there is hope, the volume concludes: “Though the scale and complexity of this multidimensional challenge are huge, solutions are within reach.”

The Atkinson Center supported the book’s development and publication, in cooperation with the Global Water Partnership–Mediterranean.