Global Water Ethics: Towards a global ethics charter, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Global Water Ethics

Towards a global ethics charter, 1st Edition

Edited by Rafael Ziegler, David Groenfeldt


316 pages | 19 B/W Illus.

Look Inside
Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9780367226817
pub: 2019-03-21
SAVE ~$9.99
Hardback: 9781138204294
pub: 2017-02-20
SAVE ~$32.00
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315469690
pub: 2017-06-12
from $24.98

FREE Standard Shipping!


Scholarly interest in water ethics is increasing, motivated by the urgency of climate change, water scarcity, privatization and conflicts over water resources. Water ethics can provide both conceptual perspectives and practical methodologies for identifying outcomes which are environmentally sustainable and socially just. This book assesses the implications of ongoing research in framing a new discipline of water ethics in practice.

Contributions consider the difficult ethical and epistemological questions of water ethics in a global context, as well as offering local, empirical perspectives. Case study chapters focus on a range of countries including Canada, China, Germany, India, South Africa and the USA. The respective insights are brought together in the final section concerning the practical project of a universal water ethics charter, alongside theoretical questions about the legitimacy of a global water ethics.

Overall the book provides a stimulating examination of water ethics in theory and practice, relevant to academics and professionals in the fields of water resource management and governance, environmental ethics, geography, law and political science.


"Overall, it was a delight to read and engage this book. It is an important reference text for which specific chapters will teach very well in courses on fresh water values, ethics, and governance…Global Water Ethics is an important contribution to a growing set of ethical and governance reflections on water. There is much here that I recommend, even as there is more to be charted." - Christiana Zenner in Water Alternatives, 2019

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: global water ethics – towards a water ethics charter

Rafael Ziegler and David Groenfeldt

2. A brief history of efforts to articulate global water ethics

Susan Lea Smith

Part 1: Ethics and epistemology

3. What is water ethics and to what end do we study it? Lessons for the water ethics charter

Simon Meisch

4. Beyond general principles: water ethics in a Deweyan perspective

Martin Kowarsch

5. Incorporating ethics into water decision-making

David Groenfeldt

6. Transcending water conflicts: an ethics of water cooperation

Angela Kallhoff

Part 2: Global water ethics, local cases and a diversity of perspectives

7. Safe, just and sufficient space: the planetary boundary for human water use in a more-than-human world

Rafael Ziegler, Dieter Gerten and Petra Döll

8. The relevance of ethical factors in the pursuit of integrated water resources management

Maite Aldaya, Pedro Martínez-Santos and Ramon Llamas

9. A hierarchy of water needs and their implications for allocation mechanisms

Eran Feitelson

10. Reflections on water ethics and the human right to water in Khayelitsha, South Africa

Lucy Rodina

11. An eco-centric water allocation across competing demands in an arid inland river basin of Northwest China

Jie Liu and Xiang Huang

12. Water, virtue ethics and traditional ecological knowledge in Rajasthan: Anupam Mishra and the rediscovery of water traditions

Ricki Levi and Daniel Mishori

Part 3: Water ethics charters and charting water

13. I yá.axch´age? (Can you hear it?) or, marrying the water: a Tlingit and Tagish approach towards an ethical relationship with water

Eleanor Hayman with Colleen James, Mark Wedge and David Katzeek

14. Developing an ecumenical framework for water justice

Susan Lea Smith

15. Developing a global water ethics charter

David Groenfeldt

16. The Berlin Water Charter: water ethics from an activist’s viewpoint

Dorothea Härlin

17. Water ethics and water stewardship: personal reflections

Adrian Sym

About the Editors

Rafael Ziegler is Head of Research at GETIDOS (Getting things done sustainably), based in Greifswald, Germany. He has worked as a lecturer at McGill University, ECLA and FU Berlin, and as a Deputy Professor of environmental ethics at the University of Greifswald.

David Groenfeldt is Director of the Water-Culture Institute in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and an Adjunct Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, USA. He is the author of Water Ethics: A Values Approach to Solving the Water Crisis (Routledge, 2013).

About the Series

Earthscan Studies in Water Resource Management

Earthscan Studies in Water Resource Management
This series includes a wide range of inter-disciplinary approaches to water resource management, integrating perspectives from both social and natural sciences. It includes research monographs and titles aimed at professionals, NGOs and policy-makers. Authors or editors of potential new titles should contact Hannah Ferguson, Editor (

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
NATURE / Ecology
PHILOSOPHY / Ethics & Moral Philosophy