The Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC), or the Law of War, aims to minimize the damage to civilian populations during periods of armed conflict. It also seeks to protect the natural environment that people rely on in order to survive. This article examines how the LOAC pertains to water, a resource of particular concern in recent years. Specific issues covered include how international treaties affect state protection of water during times of armed conflict; when the four core principles of the international law of armed conflict allow water to be used as a lawful military objective; when a state can target water installations; and what protections are afforded to those who work to maintain a clean water supply for civilians during armed conflicts.
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