Water: Right or Commodity?

Posted on April 30, 2011



Every human being needs water to survive. Does that make it a human right? Or is water actually a commodity?

Water.org, an organization founded by Matt Damon and Gary White, believes that when water is falling from the sky it is coming from God, thus a human right, but after it is collected by an individual or group, it becomes a commodity.

Rachel Warsco, Junior and President of the University Coalition for Global Health (UCGH), disagrees. She believes water is always a human right.

“Water is a human right because it is essential for survival,” said Warsco. “Survival is a human right, so that makes water a human right as well.”

Last month, the UCGH held their spring event, Lug a Jug, in conjunction with Water.org. The event was meant to raise awareness of the global water shortage problem.

UCGH challenged everyone who walked by to carry a gallon of water all day. The average person has to travel 3.7 miles everyday in order to have water to drink and UCGH wanted to effectively relay that to students.

“One out of every eight people in the world have no access to clean water at all,” said Warsco. “It is scarce in many places.”

“The most important thing is raising awareness of the water shortage,” said Warsco. “It is easy for those of us in the States to blow it off because it is an issue that doesn’t affect us, but so many people in the world are suffering because of this.”

Warsco has experienced the water shortage issue first-hand on a trip to India.

“When I went to India a few years ago, there was so little water that we were only allowed to take a shower once every three days,” she said. “And by shower I mean they gave us one bucket of water.”

Another problem is the sanitation of the water in places that do have it. According to Water.org, more than 3.5 million people die worldwide every year from water related diseases.

“It is a large problem and a global problem, but it is a solvable problem,” said Warsco.

(Photo Courtesy of Low Impact Living)

Posted in: Campus, Global, National