Water justice

Water justice refers to the access of individuals to clean water. More specifically, the access of individuals to clean water for survival ( drinking , fishing , etc.) and recreational purposes as a human right . Water and sanitation for all countries in the world. Despite successive global declarations and efforts, hundreds of millions still suffer from lack of access. Simplistic portrayals of water and sanitation ‘crises’ have often led to misunderstandings on the nature of the problem and how to address it. The result has been a failure to centralize the needs and interests of the poor and marginalized within different solutions.

A simultaneous increase in demand and decreasing the availability of water to a higher intensity of competition and conflicts, the existing water-based inequalities. Globalization and climate change at the expense of some actors and at the expense of others.

Water justice promotes the regulation of corporations from polluting water, and impeding them from restricting access, in any way, to the bodies of water, fishing, leisure, etc. Water justice is often achieved through activism , social media , outreach ; through the law; Imposed through the pressure by interest groups and lobbyists are Elected Officials; and by educating the public on the multifaceted importance of water justice.

The issue of water justice is considered a relatively recent one in human history: before the 19th century Industrial revolution , people lived in harmony with their immediate environment. As industrialization has spread around the globe, so the problem of contamination and diminishing access to water has spread with it. As Earth’s population continues to grow, people are putting ever-increasing pressure on the planet’s water resources. In a sense, the world’s oceans, rivers, and other inland waters are being harmed by human activities.

Over the past few decades, the increase in population and progress made in technology. Water pollution has many different causes and this is one of the reasons why it is a difficult problem to solve. Surface waters and groundwaterare the two types of water that pollution affects the most. If pollution comes from a single location, it is known as point source pollution . A great deal of water pollution is coming from one source. This is called non-point sourcepollution. Among the different sources of water pollution , nutrients , waste water ,sewage , chemical waste , radioactive waste , oil pollution and plastics are the most common, for example.

Legal acts

To prevent the effects of environmental pollution and to keep the water clean, various legal acts have been signed into law.

  • The Clean Water Act : The Clean Water Act 1948 under the name of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, with amended provisions and amendments in 1972. Amendments included:
    • Outlawing of any pollutant being released anywhere that would lead to large bodies of water.
    • Regulation of pollutants entering bodies of water.
    • Provided funding for sewage treatment plants.
    • Empowered the EPA with the authority to enforce water regulation rules. [1]
  • The Ocean Dumping Act: The Ocean Dumping Act was signed into law in 1972 to prevent excess pollution from entering the ocean. The EPA has $ 50,000 for each breach of permit. The act also allows for general research and EPA research into the ridding of the ocean of pollutant dumping. [2]
    • Shore Protection Act (SPA): The Shore Protection Act comes from the title IV of the Ocean Dumping Act. It forbids vessels [3]
  • Right To Water: Also Known to the Human Right to Water and Sanitation , It Was Established by the United Nations on July 28, 2010. It was added to international law. It requires states and nations to provide clean, accessible drinking water to their people. [4]
  • Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA): The Safe Drinking Water Act was put into law in 1974. It provides protection to water both above and below ground. In 1996, amendments were introduced to the EPA to assess the risks and costs of creating standards for this law. [5]

Important figures and groups

The water movement is largely grassroots, with small groups of citizens taking the lead in their own hands by means of protesting, petitioning, fundraising, or donating items such as water filters in order to broaden access to clean water. Some well-known people-have used Their exposure to further Top the causes of water justice: Erin Brockovich , media personality and environmental activist has spoken contre Flint Officials’ mishandling of the water crisis there. [6] Actress Shailene Woodley was arrested at a Dakota Access Pipeline protest , writing afterwards about her experience: “If you are a human who needs water to survive, then this issue directly involves you.” [7]

Another key player arguing to defend access to clean water in the Standing Rock protests is the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II, Who has spoken to the Human Rights Council at the UN in Geneva On Behalf de son tribe. In a separate statement, Archambault thanked those who fought the pipeline “in the name of protecting our water.” [8]

DESPITE being white For the most from grassroots, the Water Justice movement overall is, and encompasses a wide array of diverse groups Such As the Global Water Justice Movement, Friends of the Right to Water, the Center on Housing Rights and Evictions , Food and Water Watch , and the Heinrich Böll Foundation . Groups such as these believe that water is part of the global commons, and thus argues against the privatization of water resources and the state of responsibility of ensuring the right to water. [9] [10]

Contamination from human activity

Water contamination usually occurs through a series of two mechanisms: point and non-point sources of pollution. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), point source pollution is “any single identifiable source of pollution from which pollutants are discharged, such as a pipe, ditch, ship or factory smokestack.” [11] Therefore, among the most common examples of the point source pollution, poor factory and sewage treatment APPEAR high on the list; ALTHOUGH not as frequent, aim, nevertheless, Equally-if not more-dangerous, oil spillsare another famous example of point source of pollution. On the other hand, non-point sources of pollution may be of different sources, among which, poor and badly monitored agricultural activities may be adversely affected. [12]

Point sources of pollution

  • Industrial products and wastes : Many harmful chemicals are widely used in local business and industry. These pollutants can not be managed. The most common sources of such problems are:
    • Local businesses : Factories, industrial plants, and small businesses such as gas stations and dry cleaners. Spills and improper disposal of these chemicals.
    • Leaking underground tanks and piping : Petroleum products, chemicals, and wastes stored in underground storage tanks and pipes. Tanks and piping leak if they are constructed or installed improperly. Steel tanks and piping corrodes with age. Tanks are often found on farms. The possibility of leaking tanks is great on old, abandoned farm sites. Farm tanks are free from the EPA rules for petroleum and chemical tanks. [13]
    • Landfills and waste dumps : Modern landfills are designed to contain any leaking liquids, but floods can carry conaminants over the barriers. Older dumpsites can have a wide variety of pollutants that can seep into ground water.
  • Household wastes : Improper disposal of many common products can pollute ground water. These include cleaning solvents, used oil motor, paints, and paint thinners. Even soaps and detergents can harm drinking water. These are often a problem from faulty septic tanks and septic leaching fields. [13]
  • Lead and copper : Elevated concentrations of lead in water. Lead is commonly found in household plumbing materials. Homes built before 1986 are more likely to have lead pipes, fixtures, and solder. Lead can leach into water systems when these plumbing materials corrode. Your water’s acidity or alkalinity (often measured as pH-the measure of acidity or alkalinity of a chemical solution, from 0-14. Anything neutral, for example, has a pH of 7. Acids have a pH less than 7, bases (alkaline) greater than 7.) greatly affects corrosion. Temperature and mineral content also affect how corrosive it is. Lead in drinking water can cause a variety of adverse health effects. Exposure to lead in drinking water can cause delays in physical and mental development in babies and children. Adults who drink this water over many years could develop kidney problems or high blood pressure. [13]
  • Water treatment chemicals : Such as disinfectants or corrosion inhibitors can cause problems. [13]

Non-point sources of pollution

Agricultural activities that cause non-point source pollution include:

  • Poorly managed animal feeding operations
  • overgrazing
  • Overworking the land (for example, plowing too often)
  • Poorly managed and ineffective application of pesticides , irrigation water, and fertilizer . [12]
  • Bacteria and nitrates : These contaminants are found in human and animal wastes. Septic tanks or large numbers of farm animals can also cause bacterial and nitrate pollution. Both septic systems and animal manures must be carefully managed to prevent private infection. [13]
  • Concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) : The number of CAFOs , often called “factory farms,” ​​is growing. Are raised in a small space. The large amounts of animal wastes / manures from these farms can threaten water supplies. Strict and careful management is needed to prevent pathogenesis and nutrient problems in private wells. Salts from high levels of manures can also pollute ground water. [13]
  • Heavy metals : Activities such as mining and construction can be large sources of water. Some older fruit orchards may contain high levels of arsenic , once used as a pesticide. At high levels, these metals pose a health risk. [13]
  • Fertilizers and pesticides : Farmers use fertilizers and pesticides to promote growth and reduce insect damage. These products are also used on golf courses and suburban lawns and gardens. The chemicals in these products may end up in the water. The extent of contamination depends on the types and amounts of chemicals used and how they are applied. Local environmental conditions (such as soil types, seasonal snow, and rainfall) also impact their potential contamination. [13]Groundwater will normally be clear and clean because of the natural sources of particulate matter. Purpose, natural and human-induced chemicals can be found in groundwater. As groundwater flows through the ground, such metals and manganese are dissolved and may be found in high concentrations in the water. Industrial discharges, urban activities, agriculture, groundwater pumpage, and disposal of waste all can affect groundwater quality. Contaminants can be human-induced, or leaking fuel tanks or toxic chemical spills. Pesticides and fertilizers can be accumulated and migrated to the water table. Leakage from septic tanks and / or waste-disposal sites can also be introduced into the water, and pesticides and fertilizers that can be used in the future. Gold,[14] Polluted runoff is created by rainfall or snowmelt moving over the ground. As the runoff moves, it picks up and carries away natural and human-made pollutants, finally depositing them into watersheds via lakes, rivers, wetlands, coastal waters, and even our underground sources of drinking water. [12] In 2002, in the National Water Quality Inventory Report to US Congress, the states reported that agricultural non-point source (NPS) pollution is the leading cause of river and stream impairment and the second leading cause of impairment in lakes. , and reservoirs. [12]


When it comes to America alone, Standing Rock, ND and Flint, Michigan. When the issue arose of a pipeline being implemented on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation of North Dakota, residents began to take action almost immediately. When the pipeline was proposed in January 2016, the Sioux tribe released a petition that garnered almost half a million signatures within 3 months. [15] This postponed the construction of the pipeline, but the action did not stop there. In July of the same year, the tribe attempted to sue the Army Corps of Engineers with the argument that it would harm the area’s water supply. This only led the Energy Transfer Partnersto file a counter lawsuit, saying that the group was hindering their work. [15] 2016 presidential candidate Jill Stein led the movement against the construction, which included spray painting a bulldozer with the phrase, “I approve this message”. [16] Adding to the publication of the issue, Shailene Woodley was arrested for blocking the construction of the pipeline. [17] The debate on whether or not the pipeline will actually be built is still in progress.

The water crisis in Flint, Michigan has also led to a focus on getting clean water to the people. After the 2014 decision to make the Flint River the primary water source of the town, residents quickly noticed the quality of their water declining. [18] The American Civil Liberties Union argues against the administration in Flint, saying that the levels of lead in the water are absurd, and demanded the pipes be replaced. [19] This has yet to happen, and the people of Flint continue to struggle for clean water.

Related organizations and programs

Several states and national organizations are dedicated to the access of safe water. The scope of these organizations are varied by their outreach and the aspects of water justice they are contributing to. Many of these organizations work within governmental systems while others work outside of them. [20] These organizations have helped in the understanding and knowledge of water related issues, how they affect individuals and communities, and have found solutions to improve safe water access.

Categories of water justice organizations and programs


The United States of America has some of the safest drinking water supplies in the world. Despite this, there are several cases and outbreaks of illnesses and related health issues that are reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention every year. [21] Several organizations work to educate communities about proper water safety procedures and places emphasis on individuals and communities to understand where their water supply comes from.


Many water justice organizations work to create water infrastructure. Providing certification to certain professions. [22] Additionally, many organizations have created groups for professions that deal with water infrastructure and safety. Some of these professionals include public health professionals, engineers, and scientific researchers. [23]


Several of these organizations also promote environmental and public health related research and funding. [24]


Many organizations related to water justice and management. This can include city and state governments, to the federal government, to tribal governments. [25]


  1. Jump up^ EPA, OA, OP, ORPM, RMD, US. “History of the Clean Water Act” . www.epa.gov . Retrieved 2017-02-23 .
  2. Jump up^ “Ocean Dumping Act: A Summary of the Law” (PDF) .
  3. Jump up^ EPA, OA, OP, ORPM, RMD, US. “Summary of the Shore Protection Act”. www.epa.gov . Retrieved 2017-03-01 .
  4. Jump up^ “International Decade for Action ‘Water for Life’ 2005-2015″ Focus Areas: The human right to water and sanitation ” . www.un.org . Retrieved 2017-02-23 .
  5. Jump up^ EPA, OA, OP, ORPM, RMD, US. “Summary of the Safe Drinking Water Act” . www.epa.gov . Retrieved 2017-03-01 .
  6. Jump up^ https://www.rt.com/shows/americas-lawyer/370367-baby-powder-cancer-flint/
  7. Jump up^ http://time.com/4538557/shailene-woodley-arrest-pipeline/
  8. Jump up^ http://standwithstandingrock.net/standing-rock-sioux-tribes-statement-us-army-bodies-engineers-decision-not-growing-easement/
  9. Jump up^ http://www.epsu.org/article/global-water-justice-movement-denounces-world-bank%E2%80%99s-strategy-promote-privatization-water
  10. Jump up^ http://www.bradford.ac.uk/social-sciences/peace-conflict-and-development/issue-11/PCD-Issue-11_Article_Water-Justice-Movement_Davidson-Naidoo-Harden.pdf
  11. Jump up^ Administration, US Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric. “NOAA’s National Ocean Education Service: Nonpoint Source Pollution” . oceanservice.noaa.gov . Retrieved 2017-02-21 .
  12. ^ Jump up to:d “Water Contamination | Other Uses of Water | Healthy Water | CDC” . www.cdc.gov . Retrieved 2017-02-21 .
  13. ^ Jump up to:h EPA, OW, OGWDW, US. “Human Health and Contaminated Water” . www.epa.gov . Retrieved 2017-03-02 .
  14. Jump up^ USGS, Howard Perlman ,. “Contaminants Found in Groundwater, USGS Water Science School” . water.usgs.gov . Retrieved 2017-02-21 .
  15. ^ Jump up to:b “A timeline of the year of resistance at Standing Rock” . Fusion . Retrieved 2017-03-04 .
  16. Jump up^ writer, Robynn Tysver / World-Herald staff. “In Omaha, Jill Stein defends spray-painting bulldozer at North Dakota pipeline protest” . Omaha.com . Retrieved 2017-03-04 .
  17. Jump up^ “Actor Shailene Woodley on Her Arrest, Search Strip and Dakota Access Pipeline Resistance” . Democracy Now! . Retrieved 2017-03-04 .
  18. Jump up^ “Disaster Day by Day: A Detailed Flint Crisis Timeline” . 2016-02-04 . Retrieved 2017-03-04 .
  19. Jump up^ “Activists urge caution on flint water despite improved testing” . Detroit Free Press . Retrieved 2017-03-04 .
  20. Jump up^ “Drinking Water National and State Organizations and Programs” . www.nesc.wvu.edu . Retrieved 2017-02-28 .
  21. Jump up^ “CDC – Healthy Homes | Health Topics | Drinking Water Safety” . www.cdc.gov . Retrieved 2017-02-28 .
  22. Jump up^ “Association of Boards of Certification” . www.abccert.org . Retrieved 2017-03-01 .
  23. Jump up^ “Drinking Water National and State Organizations and Programs” . www.nesc.wvu.edu . Retrieved 2017-03-01 .
  24. Jump up^ Jones, Gordon. “FWR Home Page” . www.fwr.org . Retrieved 2017-03-01 .
  25. Jump up^ “National Tribal Environmental Council | Tribal Climate Change Guide” . tribalclimateguide.uoregon.edu . Retrieved 2017-03-01 .

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