Given the current problem of unequal access to water which affects millions of people
around the world, the purpose of this study is to attempt to determine how the bottled water
industry fits in the project of universal and equitable access represented by the recognition of
of water as a human right.
The emerging notion of the human right to water upholds that the provision of safe
drinking water at least the minimum amounts necessary to satisfy basic human needs
should be provided to all persons, regardless of their socio-economic status.
On the other hand, the bottled water industry treats water as an ordinary commodity,
subjecting this water to market forces, limiting consumption so that only those who can
afford it can have access to it, and thus reinforcing a notion of restricted access to water.
In light of the above, it is striking that, while some people die of thirst, the market of
bottled water has simultaneously grown exponentially in the last couple of years. Hence, a
question arises as to what extent this two water ideologies can be said to be compatible.
It is concluded that, in certain circumstances, the bottled water industry, far from
fostering the realisation of the human right to water, may negatively impact on its realisation.
This is mainly because the industry is part of a larger trend of water commodification that
reinforces a project of restricted access to water, promoting institutional structures where
only those with economic means can have access to the most important and essential element
for human survival.
Mini Dissertation (LLM)--University of Pretoria, 2016.