If you live in a slum in Manila, you pay more for your water than people living in London. Water Rights and Wrongs, UNHDR Youth Booklet, November 2006 p. 16Much of the housing problems in developing countries pdf lives without access to clean water.

Water: A Human Right or a Commodity? Lack of water means lost school time for many children. 8 billion people who have access to a water source within 1 kilometer, but not in their house or yard, consume around 20 liters per day. The highest average water use in the world is in the US, at 600 liters day. Lack of water means women spend many hours collecting water every day, sometimes from many miles away.

To these human costs can be added the massive economic waste associated with the water and sanitation deficit. 4 billion annually, a figure that exceeds total aid flows and debt relief to the region in 2003. A mere 12 percent of the world’s population uses 85 percent of its water, and these 12 percent do not live in the Third World. Maude Barlow, Water as Commodity—The Wrong Prescription, The Institute for Food and Development Policy, Backgrounder, Summer 2001, Vol. Yet they serve only about 7 percent of the world’s population, leaving a potentially vast market untapped. It is predicted that climate change and population growth will take this number to one half of humanity. The availability of water is a concern for some countries.

But the scarcity at the heart of the global water crisis is rooted in power, poverty and inequality, not in physical availability. 2006 United Nations Human Development Report, 2006, p. 2Indian scientist and activist, Vandana Shiva noted in a documentary that the water crisis is a human-created crisis only in the last two or so decades. In other words, it is not so much of a water shortage crisis, but a water management crisis. The main reason for the water crisis, the documentary implied, is the commoditization of water.

By promoting water as a commodity, this has led to increased control of water by multinational corporations. In turn, there has been increased fear that the poor are shut out, because the MNC’s main responsibility is to shareholders and to increase profit. As a result, though there may be many people in terms of market access, many people are too poor to afford it. Tanzanian people’s struggles with water privatization, and even the struggles of the poor in the world’s richest country, the United States . Around the world, the documentary noted, water access issues are reaching crisis point, similar to the ones they highlighted in detail.