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Water and ethics : a historical perspective

The call for integrative water ethics has become fundamental to our contemporary formulations of an effective policy of water management, dealing with local problems of water availability as a function of water resources, transportation, distribution, and consumption in a trans-regional and global context. International conflicts over water are a matter of grave concern in many parts of the world. This essay reviews the ethics of freshwater use from a historical perspective as a background to our current problems.

It covers in outline the interaction between water use and the development of civilisation from the advent of agriculture through the development of state action and of cities, and from the rise of ancient civilisations to the emerging global society. The current situation is a product of social, economic, and ideological developments attending the advent of industry about two hundred years ago. Industrialisation was accompanied by certain trends that have led to an unprecedented increase in water consumption : 1) greater needs of industrial production, 2) an expansion in world population, 3) an explosive rate of urbanisation and 4) a pronounced increase in ecological impact, including changes in landscape, pollution and depletion of certain resources. The present mode of water management has to be transformed from one of technical fixes to one of community management, including the transfer of decision making to the people concerned. Water ethics have to be ethics of obligation, not of property rights or free markets inequities

TitleWater and ethics : a historical perspective
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsHassan, F.A.
Secondary TitleSeries on water and ethics/ UNESCO-IHP
Volumeessay 2
Pagination55 p.
Date Published2004-01-01
PublisherUNESCO
Place PublishedParis, France
ISSN NumberISBN 9292200178
Keywordsagriculture, civil engineering, cultural aspects, drought, economic aspects, environmental degradation, floods, government organizations, legislation, policies, population increase, sdipol, social aspects, water resources management, water rights
Abstract

The call for integrative water ethics has become fundamental to our contemporary formulations of an effective policy of water management, dealing with local problems of water availability as a function of water resources, transportation, distribution, and consumption in a trans-regional and global context. International conflicts over water are a matter of grave concern in many parts of the world. This essay reviews the ethics of freshwater use from a historical perspective as a background to our current problems.

It covers in outline the interaction between water use and the development of civilisation from the advent of agriculture through the development of state action and of cities, and from the rise of ancient civilisations to the emerging global society. The current situation is a product of social, economic, and ideological developments attending the advent of industry about two hundred years ago. Industrialisation was accompanied by certain trends that have led to an unprecedented increase in water consumption : 1) greater needs of industrial production, 2) an expansion in world population, 3) an explosive rate of urbanisation and 4) a pronounced increase in ecological impact, including changes in landscape, pollution and depletion of certain resources. The present mode of water management has to be transformed from one of technical fixes to one of community management, including the transfer of decision making to the people concerned. Water ethics have to be ethics of obligation, not of property rights or free markets inequities

NotesBibliography: p. 52-55
Custom 1202.1

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The copyright of the documents on this site remains with the original publishers. The documents may therefore not be redistributed commercially without the permission of the original publishers.