Water Ethics - The Book!
Water Ethics: A Values Approach to Solving the Water Crisis has just been published by Earthscan, in their Water Text series. The author, David Groenfeldt, discusses the ethical dimensions of river management, irrigation, urban water provision, industrial use, governance arrangements, and Indigenous Peoples' relationship with water. To change water policies and behavior we need to change the prevailing ethics, and for that, we all need to be involved. Water ethics are too important, and too interconnected with everything else, to leave to water specialists. [Disclosure: The book's author is also the editor of this newsletter.]
River Health Checkup
The adage that "you can't manage what you don't measure" also applies to the health of river ecosystems. River Health Check is being developed by WWF-Canada to start measuring how Canada's rivers are doing. Watch this video for a quick overview. For the details, see this report on the technical protocol.
Change the Course
A new initiative by the US organization, National Geographic, Change the Course, seeks to restore enough water to the Colorado River that it can once again flow to the Gulf of California. Under the leadership of Sandra Postel, the program brings together corporate sponsors, who provide the funding, and an innovative concept of "water restoration certificates" developed by the Bonneville Educational Foundation (BEF). The corporate money pays for restoration activities and sometimes actual water leases, resulting in more water in the river. BEF interfaces with local river organizations and then certifies the results so the corporate sponsors can legitimately claim that they have helped restore flow to the Colorado river. Click for Sandra Postel's overview of the program (14 min. video).
Post 2015 Water Thematic Consultation Report from UN-Water synthesizes the consultation and also provides links to the key "framing papers" for the various topics.
UN Right to Water Report. The official title is "Report of the Independent Expert on the issue of human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean,
healthy and sustainable environment" (Dec. 2012) by John H. Knox. For more info, see the website of the Independent Expert.
Have we changed our cultures of urban water? by Lesley Head, Director of the Australian Center for Cultural Environmental Research (AUSCCER), looks at changing water ethics in Australian cities.
Applying ethics: The EPA needs to set pollution standards for US electric power plants...What (and whose) ethics will those standards reflect? See this article from Circle of Blue.
The economics of groundwater management. According to this article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, it pays to pump less today so farmers can pump more a decade from now, when crop water use efficiencies will be considerably higher (based on projections).
IPIECA Water Management Framework for the Oil and Gas Sector was released at World Water Week in Stockholm. The big issue of fracking is mentioned only once in passing, and you will not find any statement of guiding principles but this short document does provide a window onto the industry's view of what constitutes responsible water management.
Indigenous Message on Water (link to Indiegogo site) is a book anthology of indigenous poetry about water. Click for a video about the book.
Towards a new water ethic, by David Groenfeldt, appears in the current issue of the GWSP Newsletter. When all the water declarations are considered together, they form a surprisingly progressive water ethic.
Special Issue on Living Water in the journal, Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture and Ecology 17.2 (2013). Of particular interest is the article by Veronica Strang, "Going Against the Flow: The Biopolitics of Dams and Diversions."
Realities of rural water. In an online post for the New York Times, David Bornstein, suggests we need to learn from past failures in providing safe drinking water to rural communities.
The Right to Water and Sanitation Toolkit from the UN Commission on Human Rights is a rich collection of reports about implementing the right to water and sanitation.
On Banning Fracking. Environmental activist Sandra Steingraber talks about how local communities can make a difference in fighting fracking (from the Bioneers website).
User's Guide on Assessing Water Governance from the UNDP Water Governance Facility, offers a way of measuring governance performance.
UN Global Compact Sustainable Agriculture Business Principles White Paper (July 2013) tries to identify the essential components of sustainable agriculture from a business perspective.
Water as a Catalyst for Peace: Transboundary Water Management and Conflict Resolution, is a new book by Ahmed Abukhater, published by Routledge.
Declaration of Fortaleza is the output of the INBO World General Assembly in Fortaleza, Brazil, 12-16 August 2013. For more info about the INBO General Assembly, click here.
Thank-you to our sponsors!
The Water Ethics Newsletter is an initiative of the Water-Culture Institute and is made possible through a generous grant from Kalliopeia Foundation.
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