Water Privatization: A Threat to Human Rights?

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Pavelich, Kelly (2017)
  • Publisher: eScholarship, University of California
  • Subject: water, privatization, women, human rights, security

In developing countries, women often have responsibilities that are water dependent, such as collecting water and tending to the sick (Sewpaul, 2008: 45) As unpolluted water supplies diminish, these tasks become increasingly difficult to accomplish. Women face greater threats to their security as they are forced to walk farther, occasionally into dangerous areas, and lose several hours of their day, potentially reducing the household income and resulting in missed economic opportunities (Sewpaul, 2008: 46) To treat, ration, and dispense water, states may resort to privatized water management systems. Privatization, however, has routinely resulted in unaffordability and inaccessibility as well as poor service and water quality. This tendency has resulted in the question that this thesis will resolve, which is whether privatized water management is a violation of human rights. To answer this question, this thesis will analyze the impact privatization has on a number of groups, particularly women. In addition, to solve this puzzle, this thesis will examine Chile’s water management system, which is viewed by a number of scholars as a ‘star’ example of water privatization.
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