Every war is waged for a reason. At times, wars are started to secure some political objective, for some economic gain, revenge, rights of succession, or even love. We tend to think of wars waged over the basic needs of survival are matters for post-Apocalypse films and our early ancestors. However, that is simply not true. There are wars, in both an armed conflict and legal sense, being waged that this very moment for one of the critical elements of life: water. Since the founding of military science fiction with H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds, we have seen water being a genesis for future conflicts here on Earth and among the stars. In the installment of What We Will Fight Over, we will be diving into exploring and explaining how water will be the spark of future wars both here and out there.
Why is Water so Important?
Some Statistics & Facts about Water
- In the Gliese 581 system that lays 20.22 LYS away from Sol, there are two worlds with the possibility of liquid water: Gliese 581D and Gliese 581G.
- In the Gliese 667 system that lays 20.8 LYS away from Sol, there is one world with the possibility of liquid water: Gliese 661Cc
- In the HD 28185 system that lays 128.6 LYS away from Sol, there is one world with the possibility of liquid water: HD 28185B
- In the HD 85512 system that lays 36 LYS away from Sol, there is one world with the possibility of liquid water: HD 85512B
- In the MOA-2007-BLG-192L system that lays 3,000 LYS away from Sol, there is one world with the possibility of liquid water: MOA-2007-BLG-192LB
- In the Kapteyn system that lays 12.8 LYS away from Sol, there is one world with the possibility of liquid water: Kapteyn b
- In the Kapler-62 system that lays 13 LYS away from Sol, there are two world with the possibility of liquid water: Kapler-62e and Kapler-62f
- In the Kapler-69 system that lays 13 LYS away from Sol, there is one world with the possibility of liquid water: Kapler-69c
- In the closet star system, Alpha Centauri, that lays 4.3 LYS away, there is a possibility that Proxima Centauri b has liquid water.
Will Aliens Really Come Across the Cosmos for our Water?
Will We Fight Over Water in the Near Future?
In the lost history of our species, our ancestors fought over oasis, rivers, and ponds that were the the source of water for miles...and if we are to believe everything being turned out on the subject, we will fight over water in the coming century. Some of this future can be seen anytime when a hurricane is coming or during the recent crisis with COVID-19 with the empty shelves and the fear of the water supply being cut off. It can be best summed up by the World Bank VP Ismail Serageldin said this about water wars in 1995: "If the wars of this century were fought over oil, the wars of the next century will be fought over water."
the petroleum for the next century". Let us examine several reasons for the coming water wars.
That control and manipulation of water should be a pivotal axis of power and human achievement throughout history is hardly surprising. Water has always been man's most indispensable natural resource, and one endowed with special, seemingly magical powers of physical transformation derived from its unique molecular properties and extraordinary roles in Earth's geological and biological processes. Through the centuries, societies have struggled politically, militarily, and economically to control the world's water wealth: to erect cities around it, to transport goods upon it, to harness its latent energy in various forms, to utilize it as a vital input of agriculture and industry, and to extract political advantage from it. Today, there is hardly an accessible freshwater resource on the planet that is not being engineered, often monumentally, by man." Several articles I read concluded that there is enough water for everyone, but economic factors prevent water from being accessed.
Water Wars and Off-World Colonies
Sci-Fi and the Wars over Water
Examples of Water Wars in Sci-Fi:
The Water Crisis from The Expanse
The Visitors from NBC's V Series
V were inspired by the Nazis, their ultimate goal was very standard: enslave some, eat most. However, it was not just the humans the Visitors desired for the dinner table or for slave-soldiers for their wars against the Zedti, they need Earth’s water.
The Martian Invasion of the Earth from War of the Worlds
The Battle for the water source in 2001: A Space Odyssey
The Changing of water to sand in The Objective
The Destruction of the Water Tanks on the Galactica from "Water (1x2)"
The Eco-Protectorate from Solarbabies
The Water & Power Corporate from Tank Girl
The Society of the Fremen from the DUNE Universe
There is never one drop of rain on Arrakis and the people that live on that hellish world are devoted to preserving every drop of moisture with fanatic methods. Water was harvested from the dead (Freman or killed enemies), their own bodies via Stillsuits, wind collectors/dew collectors, and even stolen from outsiders. Everything in their lives was framed through water conversation and that filtered down into their language. Children raised on Dune, could not imagine what Paul said when he discussed the waters of his homeworld, including rain and oceans. Due to the extreme environmental conditions, all matters boiled down to water, including warfare until the Maud’Did liberated the Freman to the stars and began changing the face of Arrakis.
The Tet from Oblivion
One of the films of the last few years I’ve enjoyed is Tom Cruise’s Oblivion and beside the painful plot-holes and such, I thought it was overall an enjoyable and beautiful sci-fi film. One element that was shown in dramatic and beautiful fashion was the sucking up of seawater via the Hydro-Rigs. While a cover story was told to the Jack Harpers and Victoria Olsons, the Tet was an alien machine entity that was involved in the systematic exploitation of planetary resources. The seawater was being used for the Tet’s power requirements by hydrogen isotopes extracted from the seawater. When the Tet entered the Sol system, it used one of the astronauts of the interception mission to form a cloned army to attack Earth with help from killer AI robots to secure the water on Earth. By 2077, the human resistance managed to destroy on of the Hydro-Rigs and then managed to destroy the Tet using Tech 49 and a nuclear bomb. There was no word on how much of the Earth’s ocean water was taken by the alien space station.
The Galactic Water Storage from the film Ice Pirates!
Water Shortages on Elaaden and Karada from Mass Effect: Andromeda
The Desert Society seen in Dark Horse Comics Race of the Scorpions
The Aliens from Battle Los Angeles
The need for water in "the Caretaker" Episode of ST: Voyager
The Buying up of Water Rights by Quantum from Quantum of Solace
This is the world's most precious resource, and we have to control as much of it as we can." Quantum was involved in actions of assassination, political engineering, and bribery to secure water rights around the globe, including in Bolivia. It is heavily hinted that when the world arrives at a water crisis, Quantum would be there with drinking water for the price of submission to the will of the organization. I know that this is not science fiction, but it was too good of an example not to use.
The Combine Draining of the Oceans from the Half Life Universe
Fresh Water from Waterworld
The Water Wars from Mad Max: Fury Road
The Soames Tablets from DC Comics Hex 2050 Universe
The Monogatron Plot from "The Old Man and the Seat" Episode from Rick & Morty
Next Time on FWS...
It is time to go back again to the 1980's and dig up yet another lost, unloved, and forgotten toyline of the decade that was about the money and the material goods. In 1987, Mattel and Landmark Entertainment gifted the 11 year old me with a post-robot-apocalypse military SF TV show: Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future. Given that was the 80's, Mattel developed and sold a line of interactive toys for this oddball show about soldier wearing gold armor in the rubble of the 22nd century. In the next installment of Military Sci-Fi Toys, FWS will be going to the Metal Wars and attempt to explain the Mattel 1987 Captain Power toyline!