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Groundwater conflict prone areas in relation to the quantity of groundwater treaties signed per country.

Map description and dataset provided by: UNESCO – Institute for Water Education

DescriptionLikelihood of Groundwater Conflict 2

Combining the percentage of the people with access to improved water sources and the groundwater ‘treaty density’ indicates those transboundary groundwater aquifers that are prone to conflict on the basis of the assumption that these factors are solely responsible for future groundwater conflicts. This map estimates the likelihood of conflict high in African aquifer areas approximately around the equator: i.e. transboundary aquifers between Sudan and Ethiopia, Zaïre and Angola and between Mauritania and Senegal. Some smaller conflict prone areas are determined between Burkina Faso and Mali, in Indonesia and the Caribbean. The Northern countries seem to have a very small likelihood of groundwater conflict while most Asian, South American and South-African aquifers have a medium chance of groundwater conflict.


For this map two assumptions have been made: 1) the chance of groundwater conflict within a transboundary aquifer will reduce significantly when consensus regarding the use of groundwater is reached and treaties and agreements are ratified. 2) The percentage of the population with access to improved water sources can be regarded a measure for water scarcity and thus regarded the second large factor in the likelihood of groundwater-conflict. Myriad other significant factors influencing the likelihood of groundwater conflict makes the problem more complex than assumed here and thus this map should be regarded as indicative.


The dataset for this map was provided by: Joost-Jan Schrander, UNESCO – Institute for Water Education


This dataset was developed for one of three case studies for the Master’s thesis ‘GIS-Implementation in Analysing and Communicating the Institutional Aspects of Transboundary Watermanagement’ written by Joost-Jan Schrander in cooperation with UNESCO-IHE, coordinated by Prof. Dr. Joyeeta Gupta and Prof. Dr. Pieter van der Zaag.


Please cite this map as: "GWSP Digital Water Atlas (2008). Map 24: Likelihood of Groundwater Conflict 2 (V1.0). Available online at http://atlas.gwsp.org."

Contact Information

Joost-Jan Schrander, Institute for Environmental Studies, Vrije Universiteit, De Boelelaan 1078, 1081HV, Amsterdam, This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it Phone: +31 (0) 624 571 156

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