The Geopolitics of Water - GTEC Reader Climate Distress Services

A Future Scenario Satire

April 1, 2025

Are Canada and the United States headed for a water war?  Tensions have been rising along the world’s longest undefended border, as thousands of U.S. Army troops and hundreds of empty water trucks have been assembling at various border points for the past several days.  A flotilla of water tankers from California has also been lurking off the coast of British Columbia.  President DeSantis has declared a fresh-water emergency in the United States after several years of severe drought have created Dust Bowl conditions in the Midwest.  Food production has plummeted in the farming breadbasket of the country as the rivers have dwindled and aquifers have been drained.  Meanwhile the taps are running dry in many major American cities.

“Canada has lots of water”, the President declared, “way more than they need, and if they aren’t willing to share it, we’re coming to get it”.  The United States has already constructed a huge pumping station at Niagara Falls, N.Y., and built a major new water pipeline from there to supply New York City.  Canadian authorities have objected, as this project has reduced the famous Niagara Falls tourist attraction to a trickle.  Similar water-extraction schemes are in the works at several other locations on the U.S. side of the Great Lakes.

These unilateral measures have been escalating ever since previous water-related negotiations between the countries failed earlier this year.  U.S. Secretary of State Marjorie Taylor Greene had proposed a migrants-for-water scheme that was rejected by Ottawa.  “I don’t understand it”, she complained.  “With its higher life expectancy, Canada needs many more workers in elder care, and we have thousands of illegal immigrants at our southern border that we would be happy to transport to Canada to work in those jobs, in exchange for fresh-water guarantees.”

Vice-President Tucker Carlson has also weighed in on the water crisis, suggesting that as a pressure tactic the U.S. could boycott Canadian oil and gas exports, and replace them with surplus petroleum products from Russia. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine three years ago has dried up his usual energy markets in Europe. “Send us your water, Prime Minister Singh, or we’ll shut down your oil sands.”

Canada may call the bluff on this latter threat, as a shriveling market for Alberta’s oil would hasten the country’s transition to clean energy. On the other hand, the Americans could decide to launch a land invasion and capture Canada’s fossil-fuel resources (as well as its water) for their own use. Who would stop them?

Ross Thrasher has enjoyed a 30-year career as a librarian at post-secondary institutions in Canada, the U.S. and the South Pacific. Most recently he served for 8 years as Library Director at Mount Royal College in Calgary, leading the library’s transition to university status. He maintains an active interest in literature, travel and the performing arts. Especially satire.