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Issue Date: 5-May-2011
Authors: Nuccio, Lucrezia
Title: Acqua: da risorsa naturale a merce
Abstract: It is said that we only appreciate things when they are no longer there and the same concept can be applied to our way of life and to the way we relate to the problem of water resources. Water is a common asset; it is essential and irreplaceable because it belongs to the community. Because of its vital importance it falls within the sphere of human rights. The right to water and access to water is inalienable, but today that right is often wrongly denied. This resource is increasingly becoming an instrument of power and oppression, a source of intolerable social inequality and manipulation. This precious asset is regulated by market logic, where exploitation, commoditization and privatization have turned it into a source of profit to the detriment of those who cannot afford it. The global scenario reveals the political and economic interests of a handful of manipulative companies, which by means of corruption and with the support of political lobbies increasingly widen the gap between the rich and the poor. Even though water is the worldà ¢ s most abundant resource, today it is increasingly scarce and it suffers from a stress which is growing exponentially. Privatization policies, pursued by multinational companies in the sector and supported by great international institutions (Imf, World Bank, Wto) have not improved the water situation, either locally or globally. The aim of this work is to provide as comprehensive an analysis as possible of the world scenario in general and of the Italian scenario in particular, as regards water, providing insights and posing questions about the subject. An attempt has also been made to demonstrate how and why public management of water services may be a more efficient and sustainable solution as compared to the privatization of water resources. The work is divided into nine chapters: the first chapter presents a physical and biological (historical-religious) analysis of water, highlighting its unequal distribution around the planet; the second chapter offers a geopolitical picture of the global water situation focusing on the commoditization process of natural resources in an increasingly crowded planet; the third chapter tries to present an excursus on international and Italian law, dealing with all the political and legal decisions made with regard to the issue; the fourth chapter presents a contrast between a sustainable use of resources and the current situation of waste; the fifth chapter refers to the Italian setting and describes the struggle that has involved all Italian region in recent years to protect water as a common asset; the sixth chapter focuses on privatization, mentioning the creation of some opposition movements that are against widespread privatization; the seventh chapter examines the mineral water issue, a huge business, revealing the political and economic interests that lie behind the labels of bottled waters; the eighth chapter compares those theories in support of privatisation and those which are in favour of the right to the resource as a common asset; the ninth chapter proposes a series of commitments and initiatives to be undertaken for a better future. In conclusion, the work tries to clarify the present situation with regard to water management and offers some thoughts on which to reflect. Finally it has been underlined that the private management of water is not a solution to the present stress and crisis in the water sector. Correct public management of the asset could instead be very advantageous and, above all, make it possible for access to water to remain a sacred, universal, inviolable right (in a progressive society) and available to all.
Appears in Collections:Area 11 - Scienze storiche, filosofiche, pedagogiche e psicologiche

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