The water crisis

Source: Blue Planet Project
Billions of people are suffering because the world is not focused on providing water and sanitation for all. A strong UN General Assembly resolution will signal that water and sanitation is key priority for the international community. July 2010. [see more]
Since the second half of the 1970s, and in particular since the first major world conference on water (organized in 1977 by the United Nations at Mar del Plata, Argentina), world leaders have been aware of the scale of the problems concerning access to water of sufficient quantity and quality, and of the risks associated with growing shortages and degradation of the supply. The Mar del Plata conference set out the basic facts and made water one of the top issues on the international political agenda. And yet the ‘water crisis’ has continued to worsen.

One and a half billion people across the world lack drinking water and another two billion lack clean water generally. In 20 years' time these numbers will have doubled. Agricultural and industrial pollution is degrading the quality of fresh water supplies everywhere.

Yet the biggest threat to universal access to clean water and adequate sanitation is not mother nature but corporate globalization. Privatization of water is being aggressively exported to the developing world under the rubric of poverty reduction and debt relief strategies, free trade and economic development.

In this context, civil society demands that access to drinking water be recognized as a universal human right, in order to ensure that everyone can benefit from water resources. At the same time, it raises its voice against leaving water exploitation in the hands of private corporations whose only concern is making a profit from such services.

For the various civil society movements, the issue of basic services covers a wide range of subject areas, such as accountability and transparency of international government bodies, human rights, poverty alleviation, democratization, national sovereignty, gender equality, debt reduction and cancellation, and environmental protection. The water issue is, in this sense, key to guaranteeing the future of humanity.
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Tuesday, July 13 2010
Time for the UN to recognize the human right to water and sanitation
(Source: Blue Planet Project)
Tuesday, March 24 2009
Alternative Water Forum declaration
Monday, March 16 2009
Multinationals control the agenda at World Water Forum
(Source: Water Justice)

Key websites

The Water Observatory

World Water Council

International Water Management Institute

The Global Water Partnership

Conferences on water

5th World Water Forum

An open call to mobilize against the World Water Forum (People's Water Forum)

4th World Water Forum

Third World Water Forum (Choike)

Pan-African Implementation and Partnership Conference on Water

Civil society

Alternative Water Forum declaration

Central American Water Resource Management Network (CARA)

Institute of Water and Sanitation Development

Palestinian Hydrology Group (PHG)

Gender and Water Alliance (GWA)

Rainwater Harvesting Campaign (CSE India)

To defend water is to defend life (Choike)

Non governmental and autonomous organizations in Mexico launch an initiative on the right to water (DESC-Net)

Rios Vivos Coalition

Freshwater Action Network

Latin American Water Tribunal

NGO group discussion paper on water, sanitation and human settlements (UN-NGLS)


Multinationals control the agenda at World Water Forum (Water Justice)

Water democracy: reclaiming public water in Asia (TNI/Focus on the Global South)

Water in public hands (Public Services International)

Pipe dreams: private sector's failed water investments in the South (WDM)

Public water for all: the role of public-public partnerships (Transnational Institute)

Water: human right or commodity for trade? (Friends of the Earth International)

The roles of the IMF, the World Bank, and the WTO in liberalization and privatization of the water services sector (Citizens' Network on Essential Services)

Water privatization in Latin America (ALAI)

"El Alto" pledges IFIs to stop promoting water privatization in Bolivia (Water for All Campaign)

Dirty aid,dirty water (World development movement)

Water in private hands (Choike)

Independent water entrepreneurs in Latin America (World Bank)

The war for water

Water could become major catalyst for conflict (RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty)

Water and war (Our Planet)

Wars for water: how a vital resource is being privatised and becoming scarce (Stuttgart Waterforum)

Water tensions and water conflicts: 'merchandising water', the catalyst (Networkideas)

The battle for water (Yes Magazine)

Information resources

Water and Food Security Country Profiles (FAO)

The Water Page

International Rivers Network (IRN)

Sanitation: a human rights imperative (COHRE)

Manual on the Right to Water and Sanitation (COHRE)

Third World Centre for Water Management

Inter-American Water Resources Network

The Blue Planet Project

CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food

Access to water and sanitation: a global picture (Social Watch Report 2005)

Right to Water (Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE))

Global Water Outlook to 2025 (IFPRI)

United Nations

Right to water

World Day for Water (UNESCO)

UNEP activities in freshwater (UNEP)

Water Portal (UNESCO)

World Water Assessments Programme (UNESCO)

Time for the UN to recognize the human right to water and sanitation (Blue Planet Project)

Beyond scarcity: power, poverty and the global water crisis (IPS)

Urgent need to meet MDG water and sanitation targets (SUNS online)

World water development report 2006 (UNESCO)

Health, dignity and development: meeting global water and sanitation goals (UN Millennium Project)

Water for People, Water for Life: the United Nations World Water Development Report (UNESCO)


Montreal Charter on Water and Sanitation (ISW)

The Strasbourg Declaration (Ecen)

Paris Declaration on Water and Sustainable Development (Waternunc)

The Hague Declaration on Water Security

NGOs submitt letter to UN on human right to water (Blue Planet Project)

The Water Manifesto: the right to life

Water, light, and land for all! (International Rivers Network)

Agenda 21 - Chapter 18 (United Nations)

Joint declaration of movements in defence of water (COMDA)

Social movements' declaration on water at the WSF Caracas 2006 (Water not for Sale)

Gender and water

Gender, water and poverty: untapped connections (WEDO)

The dam threat

Major demonstrations in Delhi (CACIM)

Rivers at Risk: dams and the future of freshwater ecosystems (WWF)

Articles and reports

Dealing with drought: find more water or need less (IWMI)

Going public: southern solutions to the global water crisis (World Development Movement)

Drinking water crisis in Pakistan and the issue of bottled water (Swiss Coalition of Development)

Half the world’s water under threat (GLOBIO)

Water needs the protection of international law (Social Watch Report 2005)

Access to water and human health: Global Health Watch report 2005/6 (Global Health Watch)

World water day 2005: the beginning of a decade for action? (Choike)

Investing in water for food, ecosystems and livelihoods (Comprehensive Assessment of Water Management in Agriculture)

Water as a human right? (IUCN Environmental Law Programme)

The Water Crisis: analysis and proposals (Third World Network)

Dying for a drink of water (IFPRI)

Global population and water: access and sustainability (UNFPA)

Clean water: a neglected research priority (

Running pure: the importance of forest protected areas to drinking water (Panda)


World water and food to 2025: dealing with scarcity (IFPRI)

Book: Inside the bottle (Polaris Institute)

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