Water A Basic Right
Water! The most precious of all things Through-out history wars have been fought over the right to claim water rights. Like a nations finances, governments ability to control the availability of water is the other source in determining the destiny of populations. Transparency and effective governance of water is the prerequisite for all human and animal development. It also ensures environmental stability. Yet we especially here in the United States take the supply of readily available access of water for granted. We waste it, we squander it, we horde it, we pollute it, and generally abuse the supply we have.
Where ever there is power to control, corruption of those in control is rampant in governments through-out the world. These facts will emphasize the scope of the monumental disaster we have taking place right now. More than 1 billion people live without safe drinking water, and more than 2.6 billion are without adequate sanitation. Unclean water and poor sanitation have claimed more lives over the past century than any other cause. Corruption is a major roadblock to solving this human development crisis. A study of 21 water utilities in Africa, revealed that nearly two thirds of their operating costs were due to corruption. Water is indispensable for all food production. Irrigated agriculture produces 40% of the world´s food on only 17% of the agricultural land. An increase in world food production will come through irrigation. Changing from rain-fed agriculture to man managed irrigation requires an impeccable governance system, with maximum transparency and accountability to all agents.
Hydropower is a vital source of energy, but as in all large infrastructure projects significant corruption can occur from the policy and planning stage through construction to the actual electricity production. Corruption invariably reduces the benefits from a project while at the same time increasing the human, economic and ecological damages. Widespread overuse of water, often aggravated by corruption, is endangering the balance of ecosystems around the world, intensifying local water shortages and increasing the risks of poverty and conflict that come with it. The corruption risks encountered in the water sector are as imminent as they are diverse. They range from petty bribery in water delivery to procurement related looting – from covering up industrial pollution to manipulation and distortion of fundamental water management and allocation policies. This makes curing corruption in water governance a priority for policy-makers and practitioners around the world.
Eliminating the assumption that adequate amounts of safe water is a basic need and establishing the legal president that safe adequate amounts of water is a legal right of every human being would be a important way of mitigating the effect of an impending Global catastrophe. In this way a legal right to safe adequate amounts of safe water citizens would have an important tool they can use against their own governments.
Some 30 countries have a constitutional or legal provision ensuring individuals' access to water. The United States still does not guarantee that Americans have a constitution right to safe water. The time is now to establish this right under the constitution because more of our own citizens now are faced with the inability to afford safe water. If water was guaranteed under the constitution all Americans would have access to safe amounts of water. In South Africa, for example, the 1996 constitution guarantees that sufficient clean safe water as a basic right. This allows South Africans to take legal action when their water has been shut off. In 2006 a court ruling determined that the inability to pay is not a good enough reason to cut off someone's water supply. The United States must provide in our constitution like South Africa the legal right for safe fresh water.
The delivery of fresh water systems and water investments are essential for the safety, sanitation, food supply, and health of all. Not only are they essential but profitable as well with world-wide revenue reaching in excess of 500 billion annually. Now, the delivery of fresh water systems that reach those regions around the world where they are needed are expanding but to have a real impact local governments have to resolve that water is a basic right for the satiability, security, and health of each country and in doing so will create employment opportunities as well thus ensuring the continued economic stability of all.