While it is tempting to think that water crisis is caused by intensified changes in the climate, the disasters discussed in previous sections go hand in hand with the impact that major infrastructure projects have had on the environment and society at large. This section focuses on the consequences that major water infrastructure projects such as hydropower, canalization and tunnelling for large-scale irrigation are having on local ecosystems on the one hand, and on marginalized communities on the other.

Injustices arising from inadequate, unplanned or environmentally destructive dams and irrigation systems, often constructed under the banner of national development, all conspire towards violations of the rights of minorities and indigenous peoples worldwide, for instance through the imposition of unsustainable modern engineering techniques on ancestral cultural practices for water conservancy and management. The overall pattern we find in these case studies is a direct correlation between non-consensual water infrastructure, and a rise in human rights violations and land disputes across many parts of the globe.