Book Brief: Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water

Maude Barlow
The New Press (June 2009)
ISBN 9781595584533
196 pages

In Blue Covenant, Maude Barlow seeks to impress upon the reader the importance of sustainable and equitable access to safe drinking water.

Starting with a thorough account of why our water sources are dwindling—from contamination and pollution to unsustainable welling practices and disruptive diversions—Barlow creates a sense of urgency around the supply of clean drinking water. She applies this idea of the global water crisis to all areas of the world, proving that it must be considered in transnational terms.Condemning the privatization of water distribution and rise of bottled water companies, Barlow explains why water should be considered a basic right and a public good in the context of all regions of the world. She suggests ways in which water can be used and extracted sustainably, without the exacerbating effects of over-withdrawal, such as desertification and a shrinking watershed.

With her use of detailed case studies, Barlow provides a compelling argument in support of the right to water. She provides compelling examples of why privatization is insufficient, describes how countries are struggling to meet water demands, and details conflicts that have emerged over water access. In addition, by offering a chronology and description of regional, national, and international laws and conferences revolving around the right to water, Barlow shows how this water crisis has been gaining visibility and importance.