Is Clean Water a Human Right?Think about how often you drink water, clean water that is. Do you deserve it? This may seem like an obvious answer to tell yourself: “Yes, of course I do”, but this is a question that is being brought up. There are many companies that sell bottled water, and some of them believe that clean water is not a human right, and it deserves to be sold at a price. Other issues arise under this same question, too. Such as what about the people who live in undeveloped countries who do not have access to clean water, and should they? Other issues include global warming and the potential limiting of clean water in the future, or water being compared to other things that the human race need to survive. These two sides have very opposing ideas.
The first side that is going to be brought up is the side of the argument that agrees that people deserve the right to clean water in all cases. Some of the strongest arguments from this side come from Ben Adler in “Clean water should be a basic human right. Why are we charging so much for it?”. Their main argument comes from the very first sentence in the article, which is “Aging Infrastructure + warming climate = rising prices.” and also summarizes the claims in the rest of the article.
The cost of water varies in several different zones in the world, but overall the prices for water have risen over 41 percent in the past six years (Adler). Adler claims that this is because companies are treating water as if it were not required to live. This issue also seems to affect non-white people even harder. In fact, the claim that water is required to live comes up in plenty of articles on this side of the argument. This article claims that the cost of water should drop way lower than it currently is, down to less than 2.
5 percent of the common income. It also states that water should be recognized as a human right in federal law, which would require the U.S. government to provide water to those in poverty or those that are homeless.
This article contains many strong sources for their information, but the main issue with it is it’s bias in the U.S. government, and also it’s ignoring of just how difficult all of the solutions that it offers can be. Another article that both agrees with the 2.5 income claim as well as that water should be recognized as a human right in the U.S. is on the website bread.
org. This article focuses on the city of Detroit in the U.S, which says that more than 40% of the population there lives under the poverty line, which makes them unable to afford water, both for drinking and other things such as bathing and cooking (Bread For The World). The solution that this article offers is for cities to make more affordable plans for water so that citizens are able to afford it. However, just like the previous article, it does not offer a lot of detail for this solution.The other side of this argument is, of course, the exact opposite of the other side. This side claims that water is not necessarily a human right and deserves to be charged for just as it is now.
One way that this side claims this statement is by saying that treating water like a commodity will ensure that it is used in a non pollutive way and create a more sanitary use of water (Glinzak). This side also claims that water will be depleted if it is treated as a basic human right, and will become less and less available. Not much evidence is shown in this claim. Catarina de Albuquerque however makes a very good claim. She states that just like food and medicine, water is a human right, but it should stay with a price.
She recalls that food and medicine are very much human rights, but still come with a cost due to the efforts it takes to acquire them, just like water. She claims just like Glinzak that if water was free or was reduced to a lower price, a water crises could grow even higher and become even more of a danger to the world. Also, a Nestle Chairman also claims that water should stay with a price, but it may include some bias due to him being in the company of selling water.As of now, I do believe that water is very much a human right. However, the other side does make some great claims. Which is why I also believe water should still have a price to it to prevent a larger water crises from forming, but water should still be made affordable to those who need it, and people should never not be able to obtain it.