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Idrica Water Security Series: Cordillera Applications Group Expert David Kilcullen Suggests Pandemic May Trigger Social Unrest in Water-Insecure Cities

Military author and strategist David Kilcullen warned that one of the main consequences of the coronavirus pandemic may be social unrest -including the potential for violence in water-insecure cities around the world.

“Access to water is one of the leading indicators for social unrest; after COVID-19, we are going to see populations blaming governments and potential conflict in the world’s more fragile urban environments,” he explained.

“We are starting to see significant security implications in countries that have been affected by coronavirus. We can expect that populations will blame, punish and defy governments at all levels. Mid-term to long-term impacts of the virus will go well beyond today’s public health crisis and the coming economic collapse. They may include a human security crisis, internal instability or even international conflict,” he alerted.

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Kilcullen, who leads the international risk consultancy Cordillera Applications Group and is considered one of the world’s leading experts on unconventional and hybrid warfare, took part in the Idrica Water Security Series Middle East, a digital meeting on security organized by the Spanish water technology company Idrica.

Idrica is one of the world’s leading water security companies. It boasts a team of 180 professionals spread over three continents optimizing digital processes to manage the integral water cycle.

In his presentation, Kilcullen, who has just launched his latest book “The Dragons and the Snakes: how the rest learnt to fight the west”, explained that “Water crisis immediately become triggers for security breakdowns, and the use of technology to optimize and improve access to hydric resources is key.”

Cordillera provides geopolitical analysis and risk management to governments, corporate clients and NGOS in North AmericaEuropeLatin America and Africa. The firm’s suite of technological tools, and its distributed operations model, have allowed it to take the current crisis in stride.

Based in Valencia, Spain, Idrica provides services and implements a proprietary technological solution called GoAigua.

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At the event, Kilcullen spoke with Idrica’s CEO, Jaime Barba, and Qatar-based communications expert Sarmad Qazi.

Barba, a specialist in innovation and technological development applied to the water sector, explained that, throughout this crisis, “We have been lucky enough to have all the technology available to deal with COVID-19 from the point of view of water and the data that the networks throw at us.”

“Smart metering and coordination with governments are going to be key to alert the presence of the coronavirus in sewage systems, to alert about leaks in houses that should be empty,” Barba said.

Although he explained the importance of dealing with cyberattacks that target critical water infrastructure, Idrica’s CEO suggested the development of protection plans against possible new waves that occur as a result of the virus.

He added that Idrica’s technology system allows for warnings of the presence of the coronavirus in the drinking water and sanitation system up to times before it spreads, and that water data is more important than ever in order to prevent health crises.

“The pandemic has taught us the need to increase technological processes in the management of water systems,” he stated.

The Idrica Water Security Series are a number of digital meetings sponsored by Idrica to bring together the world’s leading experts on water security.

The first of these events focused on Latin America and brought together Dr Judith Dominguez, one of the leading global experts in the field and researcher at El Colegio de Mexico, and academic and internal security expert Roman D. Ortiz.

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