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date: 21 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter utilizes theories of social justice and human rights to examine issues of access to clean water and sanitation services, along with competing uses that include agricultural purposes essential for human health. Prospects for a just system of resource access are complicated by several factors. While water is an essential public health resource, competing uses and social values must be balanced. Because groundwater and surface water availability depends on how each is used, integrated water management approaches are necessary, and their comprehensive authority results in decisions that touch on every aspect of social life. Moreover, physical water scarcity, once limited to arid and desert regions, now affects the majority of the world’s population, especially the global poor and megacities. Finally, as water assumes greater importance as a global commodity, existing models of property rights are open to fresh moral scrutiny, ideals of democratic control over vital resources are challenged, and effective national sovereignty is tested by the complex realities of transboundary waters.

Keywords: social justice, human rights, water scarcity, global commodity, integrated water management, public health ethics, public health

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