Religion, Law, and the Present Water Crisis documents current and impending global water shortages and opposes policies of commodification and privatization of water ownership by multinational water corporations. On the basis of the religions of the world, Richard A. Hughes appeals to pure, running water as a symbol of the sacred. Furthermore, he argues that all bodies of freshwater are commons and that they should be protected by the public trust doctrine. In addition, he contends that there is a right to water and that this right is independent, free-standing, and the prerequisite of other human rights, applying to all states and occupied territories. The increasing acidification of the oceans makes it mandatory to protect them under the reserved water right doctrine and to designate them as "national parks" of the seas. More generally, this book presents a synthesis of water studies and encompasses the religions of the world, theologies of baptism, American water law doctrines, public trust doctrine with special attention to Islamic water law, and international water law treaties. Clean water is a necessity of life. Therefore, it is compelling to recognize the urgency of water scarcity and the need to guarantee the purity of and accessibility to water for all people.
Richard A. Hughes is the MB Rich Professor of Religion at Lycoming College in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Dr. Hughes received his doctoral degree from Boston University and also studied at universities in Geneva and Paris. He has published many books and numerous articles in the fields of theology, biblical studies, depth psychology, ethics, and law. His academic awards include grants from the Louisville Institute/Lilly Endowment and the Szondi Foundation of Switzerland.