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Political Science Environmental Policy

Whose Water Is It, Anyway?

Taking Water Protection into Public Hands

by (author) Maude Barlow

ECW Press
Initial publish date
Sep 2019
Environmental Policy, Environmental Conservation & Protection, Natural Resources
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2019
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2019
    List Price

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“Maude Barlow is one of our planet’s greatest water defenders.” — Naomi Klein, bestselling author of This Changes Everything and The Shock Doctrine

“This book is a blueprint for communities around the world to take back that responsibility and maintain water as a human right.”  — David Suzuki

“This is a must-read.” — Jane Fonda

A call to action from former Senior Advisor on Water to the U.N., honorary chairperson of the Council of Canadians, chair of Washing-based Food and Water Watch, and councillor with the Hamburg-based World Future Council

The Blue Communities Project is dedicated to three primary things: that access to clean, drinkable water is a basic human right; that municipal and community water will be held in public hands; and that single-use plastic water bottles will not be available in public spaces. With its simple, straightforward approach, the movement has been growing around the world for a decade. Today, Paris, Berlin, Bern, and Montreal are just a few of the cities that have made themselves Blue Communities. In Whose Water Is It, Anyway?, renowned water justice activist Maude Barlow recounts her own education in water issues as she and her fellow grassroots water warriors woke up to the immense pressures facing water in a warming world. Concluding with a step-by-step guide to making your own community blue, Maude Barlow’s latest book is a heartening example of how ordinary people can effect enormous change.


About the author

Maude Barlow is the author of sixteen books, including the international bestsellers Blue Gold: The Fight to Stop the Corporate Threat of the World’s Water (co-written with Tony Clarke) and Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water. She is currently the National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians. She served as Senior Advisor on Water to the 63rd President of the United Nations General Assembly and was a leader in the campaign to have water recognized as a human right by the UN. She lives in Ottawa, Ontario.

Maude Barlow's profile page

Excerpt: Whose Water Is It, Anyway?: Taking Water Protection into Public Hands (by (author) Maude Barlow)


A Blue Community is founded on the understanding that water is a commons, a cultural and natural resource vital to our survival that must be accessible to all members of a community. Commons resources such as air, water and oceans, must be accessible to all members of a community. They are not privately owned but are held collectively to be shared, carefully managed and enjoyed by all. They are a public trust. Recognizing water as a public trust requires governments to protect water for a community’s reasonable use, and for future generations. As part of the commons, community rights and the public interest take priority over private water use. Public and community management of water requires transparent rules of access to water. Many private companies and industries need water for their operations but they must be subject to government oversight based on democratically agreed upon priorities for the use of local water sources.


Editorial Reviews


“Water inflates cells of all life forms, enables biological metabolism, transports materials throughout our bodies and around the world and provides an aqueous environment for our first nine months of life. Water is not a ‘resource’ or ‘economic opportunity’ but a sacred gift from Nature that is our responsibility to protect and use sparingly so that all life on Earth may flourish. This book is a blueprint for communities around the world to take back that responsibility and maintain water as a human right.”  — David Suzuki

“If water shortages and global unrest are on your mind — and they should be — read this book.” — Caryn Mandelbaum, Water Program Director, Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation

Whose Water Is It, Anyway? is in fact a bouncy book of hope … Amid all the frustrations and disappointments of the global environmental crisis, Barlow seems to have hit upon a really good idea … What Barlow is teaching us with this punchy little book is that, yes, there can be hope.” — the Globe and Mail

“This is a must-read.” — Jane Fonda

“In Whose Water Is It, Anyway?: Taking Water Protection into Public Hands, Barlow passionately describes the history of how water, on a global scale, has been systematically transformed from a public good to an economic commodity — right under our noses … Fortunately, Barlow provides a blueprint for the work and pathway for hope.” — Winnipeg Free Press


Other titles by Maude Barlow