Global Water Ethics : Towards a global ethics charter book cover
1st Edition

Global Water Ethics
Towards a global ethics charter

ISBN 9781138204294
Published February 20, 2017 by Routledge
316 Pages 19 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

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.

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 

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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).


"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

"One wonders why the creation of a water ethics charter took such a long time, over four decades after the outset of the environmental ethics movement. It is about time for the general public to realize the seriousness of the ethical aspects of using and managing water resources for future generations. This book will be an addition to the existing literature on water resource management. It is recommended reading for all environmental managers, scientists and policy makers who care about the current and future shortage of water in society." - Govindasamy Agoramoorthy in Environmental Earth Sciences, 2017