Water Sector Reforms and Principles of International Environmental Law
University of California Hastings College of the Law
January 1, 2010
WATER LAW FOR THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY, P. Cullet, A.G. Gualtieri, R. Madhav, U. Ramanathan, eds., Routledge Publishing, 2010
During the past two decades, powerful international actors have expressed deep concern about the growing global scarcity of water. To mitigate this environmental problem, they have not turned to environmental politics, policy, and law. Instead, Water Sector Reform (WSR) has focused on political restructuring based on economic principles. Under pressure, Southern governments increasingly abandon their roles as water providers, and turn over water services to private actors, who commodify and commercialize water. The resulting changed regulatory environment may seriously impact the physical environment that supports human and nonhuman life. In this chapter, I focus on WSR’s cornerstone principles and resulting policy edicts. I focus in particular on the World Bank, which has driven economic and political solutions to problems of environmental scarcity, and explain how these principles and policy solutions have played out in India. To assess how these solutions do or don’t adhere to principles of environmental law, I examine sources of that law including constitutions, international water law, and customary international environmental law. Throughout I offer ideas on how WSR might change to align solutions to water scarcity and inequitable distribution with principles of environmental law.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 27
Keywords: environmental law, water law, international law, customary principles, World Bank, India, environmental policy, equity, human rights
JEL Classification: K32, K33
Date posted: August 20, 2010
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