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Water Centric Cities 2016: My talk on Cities and Bottled Water

Last year, I was invited to join a roster of experts on water at the Center for International Education of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee for a conference on Water-Centric Cities. I am very excited about this conference, because for a very long time, I’ve thought that issues of water availability, water security and insecurity, and water governance are all interrelated and we should talk more about how cities cope with these challenges through time.

bottled water

My paper is titled: “Governing Bottled Water: Water-Centric Cities and the Commodification of a Human Right

I’m focusing this particular paper on the lack of a robust regulatory framework to govern how bottling water companies extract, package and distribute bottled water. While we can argue that bottled water is supposed to comply with health and safety regulations, there are many instances of water extraction where permits enable multinational corporations to extract thousands of gallons per day of the vital liquid without having to pay so much as a penny. My argument is that we need a robust regulatory framework to govern bottled water before we are faced with extreme scarcity and an inability to drink water from the tap, a challenge many jurisdictions like California and Michigan in the United States are already facing.

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