Who Owns Water?
Do I have the right to use water anyway I like? Do I have absolute rights on streams running through my property? The percentage of earth's surface covered by water is 71%. Is it morally right for one to make profit selling water?
As far as I know, whater has not been privatized and the UN has mandated that every person has the right to water.
Undoubtedly, nature owns water. We humans cannot create water even with our intelligent minds. When people profit from the sale of water, it is definitely not unscrupulous, but this is due to money. Money is the root of all problems.
Water rights are extremely complex, even if just looking at the United States. Water rights from a global perspective could fill up a textbook. In a very simplistic sense, no you can not use a stream however you want. Maybe if it doesn't leave your property, but otherwise you will have to be mindful of a whole host of issues, such as diminishing use for someone down river, altering the flow, pollution, impacting wildlife (such as endangered species), and potential impacts to wetlands, etc. These days, a lot of uses as well as construction, on or near, a river require permits.
While 71% of the globe's surface is water, only around 3% is freshwater, and of that freshwater only about 1% is surface water, around 30% is groundwater and the rest is ice caps and glaciers, and then again, most of the surface water is ice or snow.
In short, for every 15,000 drops of water on the planet only 1 drop is liquid water contained in lakes and rivers., which makes it an extremely valuable resource.
As for morality, who knows. Every other necessary good is priced and sold (even air in a way), so why not water?
Asking who owns water is kind of like asking who owns air. The makers of bottled water would not be in business long if they couldn't make a profit. The ones that make me mad are the gas stations that sell water along with air when you get air for your tires. There again, though, people are to blame because the free air pumps at gas stations got vandalized so often, or so that's the accuse I got when I asked one time.
Rivers are often shared with other property owners. For instance, half the Rio Grande is owned by Mexico, the other half belongs to the U.S. It's divided right down the middle. In the case of the world's oceans, the U.N. established a treaty that set up "boundaries" around each country that go out 13.8 miles from the land. After that, the ocean belongs to everyone. In the case of straights or areas where shipping goes through, the U.N. declared them as international waters to allow trade between nations.
It's interesting when you start reading the history of water rights. Wonder what the American Indians thought about the vast ocean? Surely they thought it all belonged to them, along with America. The so-called rights over the world's oceans has helped create 2 wars - the War of 1812 and WWI. In the War of 1812, the U.S., Britain, and France all fought on the high seas. WWI brought about a fierce competition among sea-going nations.
Strictly speaking, you and I own drinking water, although others may control it. Cities have filtering plants. However, if you live in the country, you may have your own water well. The point is, you don't have to pay for it - drinking water is free unless you buy bottled water. If I was lucky enough to have property with a running brook, I'd let water run over rocks and drink my own water - natural rocks are the best filter there is.
You need to make sure you have the water rights to your property. It is not necessarily include when you purchase the property. Another concern is mineral rights.
It is no more morally wrong to sell water than any capital venture. They sell topsoil, and trees for lumber and all manner of natural resources. If we don't want them to do it, we shouldn't buy the products they sell.
You can't own water but you can own the ground under the water. (I'm pretty sure this is correct information, I learned about it in high school.)
For example if you own a large piece of land that has a small lake in it. You own the ground under the lake and for all intents and purposes you own the lake. But if someone were to fly over with a helicopter and drop themselves into the lake with a lifeboat they would technically have the legal right to do so as long as they don't touch the ground.
No one owns water. Water from one territory evaporates, becomes clouds and goes and gives rain in another territory. This is as far as nature is concerned. However sovereign countries have used river water as they like at the detriment of those countries lying downstream. Sometimes building dams upstream by one country could lead to drought conditions in a country downstream. Hence here comes the question of equitable sharing of a resource which has a natural source but flows through different sovereign countries.
Agreements and treaties are signed as to how many million cusecs of water is to be released daily downstream.
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