Home Site Map

JUSTICE AND PEACE / Initiatives / Water

Water – A right of everyone

We appreciate and foster those values
which reveal the reign of God
and confront with the gospel message
those elements which impede human development and unity.
SSND Constitution

Water is essential to sustain the Earth and its inhabitants.
The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2003 an International Year of Freshwater to call the world’s attention to the crisis surrounding a most precious resource, water.

What is the water crisis about?
Some would say that it is about scarcity and a growing population. Others would say that it is about distribution, waste, and lack of reverence for water in a materialistic and consumer society. Still others might say that it is about the privatization of water supply services and ownership – with 95% of these activities still controlled by the public sector.

Every citizen has a birthright to water as well as to health care and education. Access to such basic goods is not a matter of choice, but a Human Right.

United Nations declared water a human right. In an exceptional step, the United Nations Committee responsible for the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights stated that water is a social and cultural good, not merely an economic commodity. The 145 countries that have ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights are now obligated to progressively ensure access to clean water "equitably and without discrimination." (The United States has not ratified the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.)

People have no alternative to water, even when price increases threaten their accessibility to it. Therefore, the provision of these goods cannot be left to market forces. “Water by its very nature cannot be treated as a mere commodity among other commodities. Catholic social thought has always stressed that the defense and preservation of certain common goods, such as the natural and human environments, cannot be safeguarded simply by market forces, since they touch on fundamental human needs which escape market logic” (Centesimus Annus,40).

Consider these facts:

From Water for Life! In Defense of our "Sister Water"

Read the following sections from Sacred Scripture and reflect on how they relate to the issue of water in our times.

Wherever the stream flows, there will be all kinds of animals and fish....and wherever it flows, it will bring life.     – Ezekiel 47: 6-9

Jesus answered, "If you only knew what God gives and who it is that is asking you for a drink, you would ask him, and he would give you life-giving water."     – John 4: 7-15

Links for Additional Information about International Debt

If you would like additional information about water, a right of everyone, or wish to organize a workshop or invite a speaker to address this topic, please contact Sister Ethel Howley at 410-377-2071 or ehowley@ssndba.org.

Last updated: Saturday, 26 February, 2005 0:31 AM

School Sisters of Notre Dame, Baltimore Province
6401 North Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21212-1016
Voice: 410-377-7774
Fax: 410-377-6945
Comments or questions? E-mail us
Technical questions about this website? E-mail our WebSpinner