June 2022

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
      1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30    
My Photo
Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 12/2006

Favorite Blogs

  • Authentically Wired
    Water and a lot more from Paul F. Miller.
  • AWRA
    The water resources blog of the American Water Resources Association.
  • Blue Marble Earth
    An articulate Earth scientist with an MS in Geography from Oregon State University, Courtney van Stolk explores the 'whys' of this fantastic planet.
  • California Water Blog
    A biologist, economist, engineer and geologist walk onto a bar…From the Center for Watershed Sciences at UC-Davis.
  • Campanastan
    That's 'Campana-stan', or 'Place of Campana', formerly 'Aquablog'. Michael Campana's personal blog, promulgating his Weltanschauung.
  • Chance of Rain
    Journalist Emily Green's take on water and related issues.
  • Dr. Anne Jefferson's Watershed Hydrology Lab
    Anne blogs from Kent State University on a variety of earth science topics.
  • Great Lakes Law
    Noah Hall's blog about - what else - all things wet and legal in the Great Lakes region!
  • International Water Law Project
    Gabriel Eckstein, Professor of Law at Texas A&M University School of Law, comments on international and transboundary water law and policy.
  • John Fleck
    Former science writer @ Albuquerque Journal and current director of the Water Resources Program at U of NM. Topics: Colorado River basin, Western USA water, more!
  • Legal Planet: Environmental Law and Policy
    From the UC-Berkeley and UCLA law schools, it highlights the latest legal and policy initiatives and examines their implications.
  • Maven's Notebook
    A water, science, and environmental policy blog by Chris Austin, aka 'Maven'. Focus is on California.
  • On The Public Record
    A 'low level civil servant who reads a lot of government reports writes about California water and related topics.
  • Wettit - the water reddit
    Water blog with tons of news items, other blogs, etc.
  • Texas Agriculture Law Blog
    Don't let the name fool you - there are lots of water issues in agriculture and Tiffany Dowell of Texas A&M University does a fabulous job with this important Internet resource. Give it a read - I do every day!
  • The Water Blog
    From the Portland, OR, Water Bureau.
  • The Way of Water
    Dr. Jennifer Veilleux records her fieldwork, research, and thoughts about water resources development and management, indigenous rights, ethics, and a host of other issues.
  • Thirsty in Suburbia
    Gayle Leonard documents things from the world of water that make us smile: particularly funny, amusing and weird items on bottled water, water towers, water marketing, recycling, the art-water nexus and working.
  • This Day in Water History
    Michael J. 'Mike' McGuire, engineer extraordinaire, NAE member, and author of 'The Chlorine Revolution', blogs about historical happenings in the fields of drinking water and wastewater keyed to calendar dates.
  • WaSH Resources
    New publications, web sites and multi-media on water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH).
  • Waste, Water, Whatever
    Elizabeth Royte's ('Bottlemania', 'Garbage Land') notes on waste, water, whatever.
  • Water Matters
    News from the Columbia University Water Center.
  • Watershed Moments: Thoughts from the Hydrosphere
    From Sarah Boon - rediscovering her writing and editing roots after 13 years, primarily as an environmental scientist. Her writing centres around creative non-fiction, specifically memoir and nature writing. The landscapes of western Canada are her main inspiration.
  • WaterWired
    All things freshwater: news, comment, publications and analysis from hydrogeologist Michael E. Campana, Professor at Oregon State University and Technical Director of the AWRA.

« Review of the Film 'Blue Gold: World Water Wars' | Main | Paying (More) for Water? »

Sunday, 28 December 2008


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Peter Gleick

I just saw this post on the right to water, and since you mention a paper I wrote in 1996, I thought I'd offer a slight clarification:

First, the 1996 paper ( does NOT say that 50 liters per person per day should be given to everyone free. In fact, I argue that in most cases, we should pay for it, because we can. I DO believe it should be provided free when, for reasons of extreme poverty, people are unable to pay. In other words, it should be treated as a minimum human need and subsidized when necessary.

Far more explicitly, however, I wrote a paper in 1999 on the Human Right to Water (published in Water Policy), which explicitly discusses water as a human right (which I believe it is, legally and morally), but also goes over the distinctions between rights, responsibilities, pricing, and so on. This paper is also available free online at:

Peter Gleick


Thanks for commenting, David.

I cannot see the world being required to invade a country "reluctant" to supply its citizens with clean water. If we did not invade Sudan over Darfur or Rwanda to stop the genocide we are not going to invade "Absurdistan" to force it to provide clean water to its people. I doubt even Maude Barlow would support such an action.

I would rather use the money spent on an invasion to help the country meet its obligations.

Along with the right comes a responsibility for the rest of us. What will be required is for the world to employ sanctions or other means to ensure the right is honored. I view a "carrot-and- stick" approach, with the emphasis on providing assistance for the transgressors to solve their own problems.

Water has no susbstitute (that I know of) for its role in sustaining life. In that respect, it is different from most (all?) other commodities.

Lack of clean water provision is not only a "rights" issue, but also a health issue and potentially, a security one as well. So even if one is not altruistic, the latter issue should be considered.

David Zetland

I agree with your broad sentiment, but I also want to point out that the lawyer's justification ("make it a right and get international sanctions") is hardly the end of the game.

As I said months ago (start here:, a "right" implies an obligation to deliver. Governments will either meet that obligation (at what opportunity cost?) or fail. If they fail, do "we" (as in "we are the world") have the right to invade that country to deliver on that obligation?

I'd say that we would, and I'd also say that we'd be fools (cf. Iraq).

Leave water rights out of the UN declaration; worry about things that governments have a larger role in preventing/supporting (e.g., freedom of speech, religion, political affiliation, etc.)

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)



  • Visitors
Geology Site that Rocks!
Featured in Alltop
proudly awards
this site as
Recommended Reading
Please vote for it
in the community!

Vote for us!

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Find the best blogs at

WWW sites