Clean water is a right

November 25, 2006 at 8:11 am (Sarah's Posts)

This is an article that I yoinked from The Economist, which intrigued me especially because of our recent talks about using economic principles to promote good public health policies. I think that the basic notion that there should be a cost for water is a bit counter-intuitive when you first approach it. But, it makes a lot of sense to me in the context of getting water available to the most people while not promoting wastefulness.

Water, sanitation and poverty: Clean Water is a Right

As a side note, I find that I often agree with the ‘socially liberal fiscally conservative’ perspective that I find in The Economist. You guys?



  1. sstolper said,

    If the water grid is the public sector, then what is the private sector (besides the small-scale freelancers)? Shouldn’t Chile’s financial contributions to the poor’s water costs go towards connecting them to the public/regional/national water grid? How does the private sector operate its water provision?
    In a perfect world nobody would pay for the basic right to water. This is not a perfect world yet. I am certainly wary of using the wrong means to reach the right ends, but unless the means represent an overwhelmingly bad example for the people, then the ends take precedence (and this belief applies to a number of topics discussed on this blog). I would like to see money govern less in the world, but surely the evidence for the efficacy of the pricing of water overcomes this issue. Of course, I’d love to read an opposition article.
    If the infrastructure of say, African water supplies, was fixed, cleaned up, then would there be enough water for everyone? It sounds like no. And is this a flaw in water collection, or simply inadequate source quantities? I guess what I eventually want to know out of this line of questioning is, does overusage in America contribute directly to shortages elsewhere?
    Although I’ve heard many times about the Economist’s particular perspective, I can’t say I’ve ever read an issue that has polarized me in either direction, be it complete agreement, or complete disagreement. But I definitely can’t think of any other publication that informs about world news like the Economist. In addition to penetrating the less news-friendly corners of the world, it steps up the level of discussion way above a surface survey of current events. I feel smarter after every read.

  2. Blog Roundup: Solutions in Global Health « Technology, Health & Development said,

    […] AIDG also has highligted the involvement of yet another celebrity in the global health arena. As we posted previously Jay Z had an MTV special called Water for Life. Check out AIDG and the video links they have. When I first saw this news I was really excited as I thought it would be an opportunity to spread the word about this issue, however after trying to watch the 30 minute special on TVs in three different households at three different times I was unable to access the show. MTV was showing this special on one of their other channels and not the main channel AND the TV times were extremely poor (one of the three *total* showings I could find was at 7am). So much for spreading the word. I suppose I was naive in thinking millions would be watching MTV when this came on.  2) Simple Test Could Make World’s Water Supplies Safer: Dr. Buttery at VCU has post on a new test for detecting arsenic, you can read that blog for more details. The folks at Brown’s Global Health Blog have also posted a story about water – Clean Water is Right (Economist Story). 3) Stories of Hope From Africa & the African Brand: Time Magazine and their blog has another piece on success on the ground. I have not had a chance to fully read their main piece but I encourage you to check it out. It is nice to see them highlighting hope instead of the usual barrage of despair. Related to this, from Pienso, is a piece on Africa’s brand that is well worth passing along to your friends. A tiny snippet: “The need for Africa to communicate, differentiate and symbolize itself to all the global audience of consumers and investors cannot be overstated… Ultimately, the hope of Africa and its global family lies in investing in a new identity of a functioning Africa than a selective approach where islands of hope are created in the midst of an ocean of hopelessness and misery.” 4) Harnessing University Research to Improve Global Health: UAEM The Center for Global Development health policy blog discusses the coverage this topic is recieving in some high level journals such as Nature and BMJ. […]

  3. Mesothelioma said,

    clean water is amongst the basic human rights! most of the health problems can be solved and prevented just from clean water!

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