Definition of the Campaign Water for Everyone: a Right, not a Commodity.
Access to water
És l’accés sostenible a una font d’aigua millorada, és a dir, potable amb quantitat i qualitat suficients. La font millorada ha de situar-se a menys de 250 metres de la casa, el cost d’aquesta aigua no ha de suposar més del 3% de la renda familiar i hem de tenir accés a tota la informació relativa a la gestió del recurs. Aquesta font millorada pot ser aigua canalitzada, una font pública, una perforació, un pou ben protegit o aigua de pluja ben recollida. No s’inclou l’aigua proporcionada per venedors, vehicles cisterna, aigua embotellada o fonts i pous desprotegits.
Access to waste treatment facilities like sewer systems, septic tanks, pit toilets (simple or improved with ventilation), with the condition that they are not public, as well as an adequate maintenance of such facilities.
Water of life
Water of life as human nourishment; we have to guarantee a universal and affordable access for all humanity. Also water of life as the nourishment of nature, of rivers and healthy aquifers, water of life as a the world’s nourishment and as a nourishment essential for the survival of the planet, with its biodiversity and ecological richness. With this, we also have to guarantee the right to the sustainability of aquatic ecosystems since without this right we cannot guarantee the water of life for future generations.
Having access to drinkable and healthy water in our homes at all time is not a human right, but it is a social right. Social activities based on the use of social water must be considered of general interest and therefore protected by the community. A social consumption that must have a cost, since it isn’t a human right, but a small one because it is of general interest. Water for a life in society that has to be based on the fundamentals of sustainability: the limits on its consumption must be not economical but environmental and ethical.
Business water can be found when all the aforementioned necessities have been met and there still remains an excess of water between the limits of sustainability of the resource. It also comes up from the understanding that in society there are many economical activities than require this resource. It is important to emphasize that these activities pursue a private economical profit, therefore they can be considered neither a human right nor a social right; they are born from a particular (not general) interest For this reason this consumption must not be financed with public money and it must have a high cost, since it doesn’t contribute to human dignity nor to life in society, it mainly pursues a profit motive.
When economical interests give priority to business water over other uses which are vital for society or ecosystems, we say there is a process of commodification, since water is being treated as a merchandise and speculation takes place with a basic human right or with the right to guarantee the life of ecosystems. Commodification also takes place when no environmental and ethical limits, but only economical limits are set for water consumption.
We understand water privatization as a process by which private profit-aimed companies take responsibility for the management of the service in different forms, whereas under commodification of the resource we understand the fact that the price of water is quoted in the free market and there is a possibility of speculation, or the management of the resource itself is based on business policies and on the pursuit of profit. We also identify commodification when aquatic ecosystems are governed under economic principles, not ethical or environmental ones.
Thus, privatizing policies that come from the Washington Consensus in the water sector are summarized perfectly in the following 4 points:
- Water resources should be allocated according to market principles.
- As stated in the Dublin Declaration, water and sanitation services should be considered as an economic good.
- Users of this service users are consumers, and are entitled to this service as customers.
- Water and sanitation services must be provided by private operators, who will always be more efficient than public operators. The lower the regulation, the higher the efficiency efficient of a private operator.
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