-The universal element

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drit eau debat necessité privatisation ressource libre

Water is essential to human life. The human body is composed of more than 60% water in an adult and 70% in a baby. To compensate for the loss of water (through respiration, perspiration, and urine), a single adult needs to consume on average 4-6 pints (2-3 liters) of water per day. According to the United Nations, governments should supply a minimum of 5 gallons (20 liters) of safe water per day for each inhabitant. Water also plays a major role in food production; for example, between 500 and 1,300 gallons (2,000 and 5,000 liters) are needed to produce the daily food of a single person living in a Western country.

More than a billion people in the world do not have access to clean water, a fact that makes them vulnerable to many diseases and increases poverty and social injustice. But how can the meeting of this vital need be made into a human right? Recognizing water as a common resource of humankind and its use as a fundamental human right would not only be a symbolic act, it would make the provision of clean water a priority for governments and local authorities. But although it is regularly discussed, the right to water has not yet been included in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Debate rages between those who support a right that guarantees every human being a quantity of water that is sufficient for personal and domestic use, at an acceptable quality and at a low cost, and those who see water as a commodity that should be governed by market forces. According to the latter, giving water an economic value is the best way to control waste and protect this limited resource.

In fact, the privatization of public water services in many countries has resulted in intolerable price rises for the poorest section of the population. On the other hand, in many places where water supplies remain a public service, governments and local authorities have not always succeeded in fulfilling their responsibilities to their citizens, even within countries with cultures that recognize water as a sacred resource.

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