Posted on February 10, 2013

Two professors at Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar (SFS-Q) have written an important new book on water security called International Conflict over Water Resources in Himalayan Asia: Conflict and Cooperation over Asia's Water Resources.

The book’s authors, Robert G. Wirsing, professor at SFS-Q, and Daniel C. Stoll, associate dean for academic affairs at SFS-Q, joined with Christopher Jasparro of the U.S. Naval War College as tri-authors, combining their decades of experience examining water resource rivalry.

"Water has always been an essential resource and, at times, a cause of conflict in Asia," said Georgetown University SFS-Q Dean Gerd Nonneman. He added: "Water security issues can be dauntingly complex, because they intertwine with a whole host of historical, political, and economic dynamics and with a mix of local and external interests. They can become a question of life and death reverberating well beyond their immediate locales.”

Published by Palgrave Macmillan, the book explores the freshwater crisis of Himalayan Asia, the depletion of its water resources and the increasing disputes over who owns transboundary river waters and their basins. Touching on themes such as river rivalries, transboundary river, alternatives to water conflict, and the future of Himalayan rivers, the broad range of chapters include water topics relevant to the region, including climate change.

Stoll-Wirsing

Discussing the book’s utility, Dr. Wirsing said, “The book has no jargon.  It is written in a way that is accessible to laypeople, to students and to professionals dealing with these issues. It’s packed with useful information for people concerned about water security in Asia or other parts of the world.”

Commenting on the importance of the topic, Dr. Stoll said that “while issues of water scarcity have long been of concern to policymakers, there is increasing emphasis on the connection between water supply and the impact on domestic and foreign policy."

Focusing on a region where abundant river resources combined with “rapidly modernizing, increasingly affluent, and demographically multiplying societies” has resulted in the emergence of constant resource challenges, the book enters the debate on the impact of this resource crisis in the Himalayan Asian region's present and future interstate relations.

Commenting on the scope of the book, Dean Gerd Nonneman said, “It takes exceptional  scholars to address such a subject in ways both incisive and accessible, balanced and comprehensive. That is exactly what the authors have accomplished in this superb volume: bringing a wealth of new data and analysis to bear in a new standard work that will speak to everyone concerned with water security well beyond Asia, and once again demonstrating how research at Georgetown University in Qatar speaks to the real world."

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