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Protection of Water

In the Bible water, in both its physical and spiritual dimensions, is a gift. God covenants with Gods people and extends invitations to them to experience fullness of life. A measure of this abundant life is Gods offer of water as a free gift without cost or price (Isaiah 55:1). Both water as an element and water of life as a healing agent (Revelation 22:17) are a gift of God to everyone who thirsts. Further, the Bible offers examples of God and humans intervening in people's water crises, and providing water (Genesis 21:19; Genesis 24:15-21; Numbers 20:9-11). Water is an integral part of God's radical expression of God's love to all humanity. Water cannot be monopolized or privatized. It is to be shared like air, light, and earth. It is God's elemental provision for survival for all God's children together on this planet.

The problem is:

  • Water use is increasing everywhere. The world's six billion inhabitants appropriate 54 percent of all accessible water.
  • Globally, 69 percent of all water used on a yearly basis is used by agriculture; industry accounts for 23 percent, and domestic households account for 8 percent.
  • Excess withdrawals, withdrawal at a rate greater than can be charged naturally is occurring in parts of the Arabian Peninsula, China, India, Mexico, the former Soviet Union, and the United States.
  • One toilet flush uses as much water as an average person in a developing country uses in a whole day, to drink, cook, wash, and clean.
  • Many of the 840 million people in the world who go hungry live in water scarce regions.
  • 2.3 billion people suffer from diseases linked to dirty water.
  • Around the world there is a cumulative pollution of aquifers and water sources by agriculture, industry, and mining waste.
  • "If water usage continues in its present form the results will be devastating to the earth and its inhabitants. Each generation must ensure that the abundance and quality of water is not diminished as a result of its activities . . . water must be protected at any cost" (Maude Barlow: Blue Gold: The Global Water Crisis and the Commodification of the World's Water Supply).

Therefore be it resolved the people called United Methodists

  • shall affirm and educate that water is a basic human right to be shared and enjoyed by all God's people;
  • shall encourage and develop strategies for guiding principles protecting our water supply;
  • shall support the United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Developments commitment to reduce by half the number of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water by 2015;
  • shall affirm and teach methods to support the International Year of Freshwaters commitment to protect and respect our water resources as individuals, communities, countries, a global family of concerned citizens;
  • shall encourage and commit to good water management by all entities, corporations and communities;
  • shall push companies that pollute to provide funds and services to clean waters that they pollute; and
  • shall urge that all countries take responsibility for the way they use water.

Other resolutions:

Book of Resolutions, 1996, page 90, "Reduction of Water Usage"
Book of Resolutions, 1996, page 78, "Environmental Stewardship": Water
Resolution #1026, "Environmental Stewardship": Right to Abundant and Clean Water
Resolution #1023, "Environmental Justice for a Sustainable Future": Water


See Social Principles, ¶ 160A.

From The Book of Resolutions of The United Methodist Church - 2012. Copyright © 2012 by The United Methodist Publishing House. Used by permission.