By Arun D Ahluwalia
30 March, 2006
Heard of fundamental rights of
man? Never heard of fresh water rights?
Better do for your own sake.
At the greatest GEOEXPO in August, 2004 in Florence in 32nd International
Geological Congress I saw ironically these rights on beautiful pamphlets
going abegging in huge waste paper baskets. The document originating
in Spain gave these 10 water commandments that Freshwater has the right
Included among public policy
priorities and to be allocated sufficient financial and manpower resources.
This right should be recognised and guaranteed by all countries.
Valued as an essential good for sustainable future of the planet and
Not wasted or misused but to be applied correctly and moderately, in
order to guarantee its natural, ecologic, social and economic functions.
Satisfying the basic necessities
of all living beings on the planet, including mankind.
Not contaminated and to be protected against contaminating activities,
in order to maintain the characteristics of its natural state.
Not appropriated by any part
of society. It is a common good, and as such should be available to
Not underutilised. This is
particularly so concerning groundwater, which is accessible, economic
and of high quality.
Studied by public and private
research bodies. The results of these investigations should be made
available to the public.
Playing an important role
in maintaining biodiversity and in protecting wetlands and other natural
Cherished by all the inhabitants
of the planet, and particularly by its children, to whom campaigns should
be addressed to raise awareness of fresh water's natural and cultural
Futuristic water scenario
could be extremely dismal unless we follow these 10 commandments.
Glaciers and ice caps, the so-called fixed deposits of fresh water may
be on their way out. The mineral water industry already flourishing
is likely like pharmaceutical industry to soon co-exist with a spurious
counterpart. How long are we going to use drinking water for watering
lawns, washing cars and cattle? If we do not get out of this luxury,
we'd be fighting street wars over fresh water.
To be retaining our rights
for safe drinking water even within cities, we need to launch a mass
communication programme in effective and thoughtful ways to enforce
Freshwater Rights. Those who may consider these to be a joke will find
themselves on the receiving end not very far off in the future.