Changing dimensions and interactions of water crisis and human rights in developing countries
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Water resources are essential for sustaining life forms, food production, socio-economic development, and for general well-being. Water is intrinsically linked with several perspectives of human rights like right to life, right to food, right to self-determination, right to adequate standard of living, right to housing, right to education, right to health, right to take part in cultural life, right to suitable working conditions etc. Yet, human rights to water remains imperfectly defined. Global water consumption is doubling every 20 years, more than twice the rate of human population growth. The growth in water consumption is highest in the agricultural and industrial areas, where the resources to buy water are readily available with rich farmers and industrialists. Potential human right issues can arise from lack of safe water. Construction of dams can lead to ecosystem imbalances and degradation of the quality of human life, specially the livelihood of the indigenous and tribal populations. To solve the growing water crisis, one of the possible solutions that has been proposed and has been implemented is water privatization, which majorly considers water as a profitable commodity. Water pricing and privatization will inevitably increase the price of the major crops and vegetables all around the world, which, in turn, can adversely affect food security. Community based water management policies such as rainwater harvesting, check dam construction, sustainable watershed management, integrated river basin management and irrigation efficiency can be sustainable solutions of water crisis, which also can respect the human right issues as well.
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