Water Wars: The Geopolitics of Water Scarcity

Water Wars: The Geopolitics of Water Scarcity

Virtual Briefing Series

Wednesday, November 16, 2022 | 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM ET

Water instability is a global challenge that will have far-reaching implications in the coming years. It is inextricably linked to conflict and competition between international and national governments as well as non-state actors in the private sector. On the other hand, it is also the source of new forms of innovation and cooperation. How will issues of rising population, political instability, violent conflict, migration, displacement, trade, and production exacerbate the stress on clean water? What is the outlook for the conflict? What mechanisms exist to mitigate confrontation or facilitate cooperation within the international community? And what policies should countries, particularly the U.S., consider implementing in the wake of water scarcity? Join our panel discussion with Dr. Aaron Salzberg, Director of the Water Institute and the Don and Jennifer Holzworth Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and Dr. Scott Moore, Director of China Programs and Strategic Initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania on Wednesday, November 16, from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM ET to discuss these questions and more.

COULDN’T ATTEND OUR EVENT? Don’t worry. You can watch it below



Klobucists, Robinson, August 2022, Water Stress: A Global Problem That’s Getting Worse, Council for Foreign Relations

Scott Moore, March 2018, How to Solve the Global Water Crisis, Foreign Affairs

Famiglietti, Salzburg, March 2020, From Building Rockets to Top U.S Water Diplomat, What About Water? with Jay Famiglietti, Apple Podcast


Dr. Scott Moore

As Director of China Programs and Strategic Initiatives, Scott Moore works with faculty members from across the University to design, implement, and highlight innovative, high-impact global research initiatives in areas including sustainability and emerging technology. Dr. Moore directs Penn Global’s four research and engagement fund programs, including those designed to support faculty-led projects in China, India, and Africa. Dr. Moore also works collaboratively with colleagues across campus to elevate Penn faculty engagement initiatives with regional or thematic foci.
Scott Moore is a political scientist whose interests center on environmental sustainability, technology, and international relations. His first book, Subnational Hydropolitics: Conflict, Cooperation, and Institution-Building in Shared River Basins (Oxford University Press, 2018), examines how climate change and other pressures affect the likelihood of conflict over water within countries. Prior to Penn, Dr. Moore was a Young Professional and Water Resources Management Specialist at the World Bank Group, and Environment, Science, Technology, and Health Officer for China at the U.S. Department of State, where he worked extensively on the Paris Agreement on climate change. Prior to entering public service, Dr. Moore was Giorgio Ruffolo Post-Doctoral Research Fellow with the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University. Scott’s research and commentary on a wide range of environmental and international affairs issues has appeared in a range of leading scholarly journals and media outlets, including Nature, The China Quarterly, Foreign Affairs, and The New York Times. Dr. Moore holds doctoral and master’s degrees from Oxford University and an undergraduate degree from Princeton.

Dr. Aaron Salzberg

Aaron Salzberg is the Director of the Water Institute at the University of North Carolina. The goal of the Water Institute is to contribute to a more water secure world through research, policy, and practice. From 2010 to 2017, Aaron served as the State Department’s first Special Coordinator for Water where he led the development and implementation of U.S. foreign policy on drinking water and sanitation, water resources management, and transboundary water and conflict. Over the course of his twenty-year career within the Department of State, Aaron was the lead representative or the lead water advisor for the United States at nearly every major international intergovernmental event on water including the G8/7, the World Summit on Sustainable Development, the UN Commission on Sustainable Development and the World Water Forums. He also led the development of the United States’ first Global Water Strategy.

Aaron currently holds an appointment as a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center and serves on the World Meteorological Organization’s Scientific Research Board where he led the development of the WMO’s first Research Strategy on Hydrology adopted by the WMO Congress in October 2021. Aaron was recently appointed by the National Academies of Sciences to the National Climate Security Roundtable which provides advice to the U.S. government on climate risks to U.S. national security.

Aaron has a Ph.D. in Genetic Toxicology and a M.S. degree in Technology and Policy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a M.S. degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Maryland. He is the recipient of numerous awards and distinctions including the Frank E. Loy Award for Environmental Diplomacy (from the U.S. Department of State), the Alan Berman Research Publication Award (from the Naval Center for Space Science and Technology), the Hugh Hampton Young Award (from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology), the American Association for Cancer Research Young Investigator’s Award, and was one of three recipients of the inaugural 2022 Faculty Award for Global Excellence (UNC).





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