The costs/rights of fresh drinking water (compromise included)
Here at BetterWorldSolutions Headquarters we had a fight. Not physical, but a firm discussion it was. The discussion was about fresh water, the first basic need of virtual all living beings on Earth.
Eventually we met in the middle. Although it is not a really realistic middle (yet), it is a worldwide compromise to strive for, we reckon.
We want to share some ‘highlights’ of our little discussion, as well as our compromise. Why? Maybe there is an even better ‘middle’, or maybe we see it all wrong. And reconsidering is what we constantly do here at BetterWorldSolutions. That comes with the job, working under this company name.
- One of us considered fresh water as a human right
- The other was convinced water should be a commodity, even more than it is today
For people who, like the two of us, believe in ‘better world solutions’, the latter theory might seem a little odd. But consider this: the existence of fresh water is not evenly distributed on this planet.
Luckily there are nowadays many ways to produce or even ‘make’ freshwater. By desalination for instance, the abundance of sea water is overwhelming. Or extracting water actively (DutchRainmaker) or passively (MIT Mechanical Engineering/PHOG water and de Warka Water Tower) from the surrounding air.
But all of these techniques make the production of serious amounts of drinking water pretty expensive. It is a fact that many what we still call ‘developing countries’ lack easy access of large quantities of freshwater. If those governments want to grant their inhabitants the right of water, the freshwater production alone would mean a huge drain on the national budget. Let alone the inevitable transportation and distribution, to areas that are not densely populated enough for regional production.
Let’s say, for the sake of argument, they overcome the starting and infrastructural expenses. The human right of having fresh water is executed for everyone, even in de most remote and barren wastelands. Hurray for humanity one would think. But basically, with all our cultural and religious differences, people are the same. When something is in abundance, we tend to use more than we need. Sure, those countries could enforce a maximum usage per person or village, but also enforcing cost money, effort and attention, this apart from the fact that we want to see less enforcing for fellow humans in this day and age.
So there we were in this inconvenient truth; water is a basic human right, versus enormous installment, maintenance and distribution costs.
Especially budgetary painful for governments who could use that amounts of money in many other ways. (Complot theorists already say that the worldwide promotion of freshwater to the level of a Human Right, is a 21st century way for western countries to keep control over the rest of the world.)
But what about the third option?
What was our middle, our mutually found compromise? Well, the production and distribution of freshwater is self-owned.
In other words:
all people of this planet have the right to own a little piece of the nearest water company. A birthright.
True, this is way off being worked out, and as earlier stated not really realistic, yet, but conceptual, we think, this a better starting point than the almost knockdown principle Freshwater is a Human Right.
What do you say?