La bataille de l’eau

NEW YORK – La très vive compétition géopolitique internationale autour des ressources naturelles alimente des luttes de pouvoir autour de certaines ressources stratégiques. Les ressources hydriques transnationales sont devenues une cause particulièrement vive de compétition et de conflits qui entraine une course à la construction de barrages et suscite des appels de plus en plus ardents pour que l’eau soit enfin reconnue par l’ONU comme une préoccupation essentielle de sécurité.

L’eau n’est pas comme les autres formes de ressources naturelles car il existe des substituts pour de nombreuses ressources, comme pour le pétrole, mais aucune pour l’eau. De même, les pays importent des énergies fossiles, du minerai, et des ressources de la biosphère comme le poisson ou le bois ; mais ils ne peuvent importer l’eau, essentiellement locale, à grande échelle et de manière prolongée – et bien moins permanente. L’eau est plus lourde que le pétrole, ce qui la rend très coûteuse à transporter sur de longues distances, même par pipeline (ce qui nécessiterait de grandes pompes très gourmandes en énergie.)

Le paradoxe de l’eau est qu’elle maintient la vie mais peut aussi provoquer la mort lorsqu’elle transporte des microbes mortels ou prend la forme d’un tsunami, d’un raz de marée, d’une tempête ou d’un ouragan. Un grand nombre de grands désastres naturels de notre époque – y compris par exemple la catastrophe de Fukushima en 2011 – est lié à l’eau.

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