There is an ongoing debate about whether water should be a commodity or a human right. One side of the argument is that water should be a commodity, something that is bought and sold as a good between countries and nations. The other side’s argument is that water should be a human right, something that everyone, everywhere can access for free. In doing so, it would help out impoverished countries in a small way, but it would help.
Rights for Water
A very long time ago, water was free to anyone who needed it. Nobody had to pay for a necessity of survival, like we do today. The United Nations General Assembly has recognized that water is a necessity and should be a human right that everyone should have. In November 2002, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights adopted General Comment No. 15 on the right to water. Article I.1 states that “The human right to water is indispensable for leading a life in human dignity. It is a prerequisite for the realization of other human rights” (www.un.org/waterforlifedecade/) The General Comment No. 15 also stated the right to water as “the right of everyone to sufficient, safe, acceptable and physically accessible and affordable water for personal and domestic uses.” (www.un.org/waterforlifedecade/). And yet, around three billion people do NOT have access to safe water. (www.un.org/waterforlifedecade/) Also, on average women, in parts of Africa or other third world countries, have to walk distances that could take up too six or more hours to reach their destination only to find water that is not safe for use. (www.sierraclub.org/committees/cac/water/human_right/) But what other choice do they have? People in third world countries do not have the income to support the cost of clean usable water. Some of the ways to ensure that access to clean water is free or affordable is, to buy from eco efficient companies or to sponsor an organization that would bring water for free to countries in need and build wells for them also, just to name a few. This could not only aid the countries and people in need, but it could also be the start of a new way of living for all of humanity regardless of the state of economy.
Water as a Commodity
Many companies and organizations profit from the buying and selling of a main natural resource to all living things, water. In doing so, they see this as a way to boost their economic ranks because water is a necessity of life and people need it to survive. If they have to buy it, they will. These companies also sell it to the people in third world countries believing that they are improving the state of the impoverished communities. Also since water is becoming scarce more and more companies and governments are privatizing their water sources that were originally shared with other countries or companies. These private owners say “If water distribution was privatized, prices for individual consumers would likely increase with use, which would have the positive side effect of encouraging conservation.” (www.2.macleans.ca/2011/07/07/turning-water-into-money/) This means that with water privatization the more people will become aware of how much water they use. Also, this makes people think of ways they can conserve the water source they have.
In my opinion water should be a human right because water is a necessity of life and it’s not possible to survive a long period of time without it. By making water a commodity or privatizing it this makes it unfair to those who can not afford the price of water or are not healthy enough to make the journey to a fresh water source. If water is made a human right, then people everywhere will have access to it without hassle and this enables them to take care of their families. Of course there could be a limit on how much water is used so that it doesn’t run out, but with water as a right it would also make the struggle of life lessen for those of miss fortune.
In conclusion, my decision as to what water should be when it comes to humanity sways towards having it as a right, but I also see the points that the companies and organizations voting for water as a commodity, if they sell water then their businesses will thrive from the profit. Both sides have very reasonable arguments, but what do you think water should be? A right, or a commodity?