The Water Ethics Network facilitates sharing of experience, ideas, and information about events and activities relating to water ethics. The aim is to bring an awareness of water ethics into the everyday discourse of water policies and management decisions, so that choices about water use and water ecosystem management are consciously informed by values.

Water Ethics Newsletter
   October  2012

US Clean Water Act Turns 40
October 18 was the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, a landmark piece of legislation enacted during the Nixon administration.  The anniversary brought numerous blog posts and accolades.  Circle of Blue focuses on how cities have fallen in love with their rivers, as a result of the Act.  The Natural Resources Defence Council blogger, Jon Devine, offers advice to the Clean Water Act on Turning 40, while Sandra Postel, writing for the National Geographic, provides some very useful specifics for A Bolder Clean Water Act for the Next 40 years.  And if you can spare 78 minutes to watch the Youtube video of the Clean Water panel assembled by the National Press Club in Washington, you will be rewarded with a series of interesting talks by water utility professionals.  Finally, for a contrarian perspective from a recent Heritage Foundation report, you can learn how the Clean Water Act "presents an unparalleled risk to individual freedom and eocnomic growth." 

Keepers of the Water Conference
The Keepers of the Water Conference was held in Fort Nelson, British Columbia from Sept 26-29, focusing on the Arctic Ocean drainage basin.  The event was well covered by blogger and WEN adviser, Jeremy Schmidt in three blog posts (one for each full day of the conference) in his blog, The Anthropo.scene.  Click for his posts of Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3

Roundtable on Water Security
On September 25 during the UN General Assembly meetings in New York, UN-Water organized a High-level Roundtable on Water, Peace and Security.  Michel Jarraud, the Chair of UN-Water and Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization, and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were among the speakers.  Click for a 3-page summary of the Roundtable.

Right-to-Water Law in California
Also onn September 25, the U.S. state of California passed Assembly Bill 285, which grants all citizens the “right” to “affordable, accessible, acceptable” water for drinking and sanitation.  Click here for details. 

Change Attitudes to Solve the Ecological Crisis
Nick Davidson, Deputy Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, urges a shift in attitudes to wetlands, to recognize their value in delivering water for maintaining people’s livelihoods.  He was interviewed at the CBD COP11 in Korea last month.  Read a summary of the interview here, watch a 10-min. video clip, or dowload the draft report, The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity for Water and Wetlands by D. Russi et al.  Click here to download [2.2MB].

Water Awareness
In India, the Nirmal Bharat Yatra, a celebrity pilgrimage for water and sanitation is travelling for 50 days from Maharashtra to Bihar. It is harnessing the power cricket, Bollywood, and politics (including Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation, Jairam Ramesh) to reach 90 million people with sanitation messages.  Click here for details.

Internships Available
The Water Ethics Network has openings for two part-time Interns.  A Website Intern is needed to handle the website. An Outreach Intern will be a new position to expand the "reach" of the Network.  Both positions are part-time (and part-volunteer) with a modest stipend. Click for details!
To Read...
Art and Sustainability - book by Sacha Kagan addresses (in part) the question: "Can we identify a worldview that can be looked upon as a basis for a culture (and cultures) of sustainability?”

The new earthwork: art, action, agency edited by Twylene Moyer and Glenn Harper.  The Table of Contents features a long list of artists, many of whom work on water themes, who can be Googled for more info.

Economics of Water Retention (2.3MB) describes the advantages of water retention, recharge and reuse for drinking water and food security. For more info contact: Simon Chevalking, 3R Secretariat,

Community Based Problem Solving on Water Issues, a report from Friends of the Earth Middle East, describes the efforts of the Good Water Neighbors project.

Bringing a Human Rights Lens to Corporate Water Stewardship: Results of Initial Research [1.5 MB], a report prepared by Pacific Institute for the UN Global Compact (August 2012) discusses legal trends related to the human right to water and sanitation and identifies potential synergy with corporate water stewardship.

Corporate Water Disclosure Guidelines: Public Exposure Draft [4.8 MB] another report prepared by Pacific Institute for the UN Global Compact (August 2012) advises on aligning corporate water management with disclosure.

 The Future of Water in African Cities: Why Waste Water? [6.2MB], World Bank report (June 2012) provides examples of cities that have implemented Integrated Urban Water Management.

Guide to Water-Related Collective Action [1.3 MB] prepared by Pacific Institute for the UN Global Compact, (August 2012) offers guidance to companies for establish enduring relationships with stakeholders to advance sustainable water management.

Human Health and Ecological Integrity: Ethics, Law and Human Rights, edited by Laura Westra, Colin Soskolne, and Donald Spady, reviews human rights and legal issues associated with public health and the environment.

Water Companies and Trends in Europe 2012 was commissioned by the European Federation of Public Service Organizations, to explore the activities of the private sector in water provision. 

How Intangible Corporate Culture Creates Tangible Profits, an article by David Lapin in Fast Company (June 2012) highlights the role of values (aka ethics) in motivating behavior.

Preventing Corruption in the Water Sector, a Policy Brief by the Water Integrity Network aims "to improve the governance and integrity of the water sector."

Vitamin "G" for Public Health describes "the effects of green space on health, well-being, and social safety."  The "G" stands for green space.  [Maybe their next article will be on Vitamin W for water?]

State of the River Report for the Mississippi highlights 13 key indicators of river health along the upper Mississippi, and highlights key strategies for improvement. The indicators include flow, bacteria, phosphorus, fish contaminants, nitrate levels, mussel popluations, and several nasty chemicals.  The report was prepared by Friends of the Mississippi River and the National Park Service.

Fitness check for EU Water Policies is an evaluation process for the EU Freshwater policy sector, including the Water Framework Directive, the Groundwater Directive, the Directive on Environmental Quality Standards, the Urban Waste Water Directive, the Nitrates Directive, and the Floods Directive.  The report is delayed (It was expected in the first half of 2012, but the website contains reports of stakeholder consultations and links to the various water directives.
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The Water Ethics Newsletter is an initiative of the Water-Culture Institute and is made possible through a generous grant from the Kalliopeia Foundation

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Featured Blog

The Water Integrity Network Blog features news and discussion about an important facet of water ethics: corruption and its opposite, "integrity".

Featured Blog Posts

Water ethics in Winter Haven, Florida.  The town aims "to be exceptional stewards of water resources and develop a new water ethic that will last for generations" and invited Cynthia Barnett, author of Blue Revolution, to help them figure out what that means.
Watershed maps are community maps, says Brad Lancaster, the rainwater harvesting guru. 

Framing the Water Debate the latest post from the Water-Culture Institute, features Stephen Kellert's new book, Birthright: People and Nature in the Modern World.  

Featured Videos

Grabbing the water when you can’, from The Water Channel, collates observations from Pakistan, Sudan, Palestinian Territories, Uganda and Brazil. They reveal how the ‘grabbers’ join forces across sectors and international boundaries, to acquire enormous power and exercise it over private citizens.

All You Eat is a 30 sec. video about the virtual water in food.

Water is Worth It is a series of 15 sec. videos invited by the EPA as one of its 40th anniversary events.

Water Art

"Drowning" is an exhibit by photographer Alban Grosdidier who describes it as "a metaphor and a critic of the feeling of submersion that one can have living in a big city."  Click for an interview about the exhibit with GALO Magazine.

Upcoming Events
International Room for the River Conference in Rotterdam, Netherlands (19 November 2012) will offer a platform for policymakers, researchers, and private companies to collectively discuss the lessons learned from the Room for the River program.  
World Toilet Summit will be held at the Durban (South Africa) International Convention Centre from 3-6 December and will bring together delegates in the fields of sanitation, education, health, hygiene and human rights.  
5th Delft Symposium on Water Sector Capacity Development, "Developing Capacity from Rio to Reality: Who's Taking the Lead?" 29-31 May 2013.  The Water Ethics Network is organizing a session; contact DGroenfeldt [at] if you would like to participate in the session.
European Society for Environmental History (ESEH) 2013 biennial conference ‘Circulating Natures: Water-Food-Energy’ will be held in Munich, Germany from 20-24 August 2013. 


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Last Updated October 2012

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