04 June 2015

Water supply for New Jersey's poor

With recent news spurring on a dramatic increase in attention to water as an issue, Rutgers' Dan Van Abs asks whether water supply is a commodity, service or right.

As he points out, the United Nations has taken a stance on access to water:

It is worth noting again the U.N. statement. “Disconnection of water services because of failure to pay due to lack of means constitutes a violation of the human right to water and other international human rights.” The key phrase here is “due to a lack of means.” The U.N. never said that disconnection of a wealthy household due to lack of payment was a violation of human rights. Its point was that people have a human right to water and should not be disconnected just because they can’t afford to pay.
It is an interesting question that has serious implications for those of limited means. Van Abs does a great job, in this short column, or asking us what kind of state we want to be in.

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