There are growing numbers of papers, books and reports on water ethics. Some are free and links to them are posted on this page. If you know of others please alert Jeremy Schmidt so they can be included (there is a comment box at the bottom of this page). The international water law project also has a bibliography compiled here (see the tabs on the left).


• Christiana Peppard. Just water: theology, ethics and the global water crisis. Orbis Books.


• Wescoat, J.L. (2013) The ‘duties of water’ with respect to planting: toward an ethics of irrigated landscapes. Journal of Landscape Architecture, 8, 6-13.

• Kerschbaumer, Lilin and Konrad Ott. Maintaining a river’s healthy life? An inquiry on water ethics and water praxis in the upstream region of China’s Yellow River. Water Alternatives 6(1): 107-124.

• David Groenfeldt and Jeremy J. Schmidt. Ethics and water governance. Ecology and Society 18(1): 14. [online] URL:

• David Groenfeldt. Water ethics: a values approach to solving the water crisis. Routledge: London.

• Schmidt, Jeremy. Integrating water management in the Anthropocene. Society and Natural Resources 26(1): 105-112.

• Schmidt, Jeremy and Dan Shrubsole. Modern water ethics: implications for shared governance. Environmental Values 22(3): 359-379.


• The Rachel Carson Center: “On water: perceptions, politics and perils” brings together philosophy, history, geography and cultural studies on topics from natural hazards to water as a mirror for understanding the world. PDF Here. Link to web Here.

• Remmon E. Barbaza, 2012. “Letting it flow: towards a phenomenology of water in the age of modern technology.” Kritika Kultura, 18: 57-67. PDF Here.

• Special issue of the journal Water Policy on “The role of ethics in the globalization of water and food” – 13 essays all available Here.

• Farhana Sultana and Alex Loftus (Editors). The right to water: politics, governance and social struggles. Routledge.

• Matsui K. Water ethics for First Nations and biodiversity in Western Canada. The International Indigenous Policy Journal 3(3). Online:


• Robert W. Sandford and Merrell-Ann S. Phare, 2011. Ethical water: learning to value what matters most. RM Books. Print or e-book.

• Cynthia Barnett, 2011. Blue Revolution: unmaking America’s water crisis. Beacon Press.

• Macer, D., (ed.) 2011. Water Ethics and Water Resources Management. Eccap Project: Working Group 14 Report. Bangkok: UNESCO.


• Peter G. Brown and Jeremy J. Schmidt, 2010. Water ethics: foundational readings for students and professionals. Island Press.


• Armstrong, A. 2009. Further Ideas Towards a Water Ethic. Water Alternatives 2 (1): 138-47.


• John M. Whiteley, Helen Ingram and Richard W. Perry (Editors), 2008. Water, place and equity. MIT Press.

• Sylvie Shaw and Andrew Francis (Editors), 2008. Deep blue: critical reflections on nature, religion and water. Equinox Publishing.


• Gary Chamberlain, 2007. Troubled waters: religion, ethics and the global water crisis. Rowman & Littlefield.


• Al-awar, F., M.J. Abdulrazzak, and R. Al-Weshah. 2006. Water Ethics Perspectives in the Arab Region. Arab Gulf Journal of Scientific Research 24 (4): 167-82.


• Berque, A. 2005. A Basis for Environmental Ethics. Diogenes 52 3-11.


UNESCO has a series of essays (in addition to the three listed below and including a survey) available here if you search “water ethics” (put them in quotations in the search).

• Acreman, M. 2004. Water and Ethics: Water and Ecology. Paris: UNESCO.

• Aureli, A., and C. Brelet. 2004. Women and Water: An Ethical Issue. Paris: UNESCO.

• Barraqué, B. 2004. Water and Ethics: Institutional Issues. Paris: UNESCO.


• Gerber, L. 2003. The Nature of Water: Basia Irland Reveals the ‘is’ and the ‘Ought’. Ethics & the Environment 8 (1): 37-50.

• Nelson M,P, (2003) Earth, air, water.ethics. Transactions: Scholarly Journal of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters 90: 164-73.


• Falkenmark, M.    2002    The ethics of socio-ecohydrological catchment management: toward hydrosolidarity. 361, 225-45.

• Foltz, R.C. 2002. Iran’s Water Crisis: Cultural, Political, and Ethical Dimensions. Journal of Agriculture and Environmental Ethics 15 357-80.

• Harremoes, P. 2002. Water Ethics – a Substitute for Over-Regulation of a Scarce Resource. Water Science & Technology 45 113-24.


• Selborne. (2000) The ethics of freshwater: A survey. In: UNESCO: Paris,


• Merchant C, (1997) Fish first! The changing ethics of ecosystem management. Human Ecology Review 4: 25-30.


• Feldman, D. 1995. Water Resources Management: In Search of an Environmental Ethic. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press.


• Scherer D,. (1991) Towards and upstream-downstream morality for our upstream-downstream world. In: Blatz C, (ed) Ethics and agriculture. University of Idaho Press: Moscow OH, 426-33.


• Butler, L.    1986    Defining a water ethic through comprehensive reform: a suggested framework for analysis. 171,  648-96.

• Kraft, S.E. 1986. Surface Water and Groundwater Regulation and Use: An Ethical Perspective. Paper read at Water resources law: the proceedings of the National Symposium on Water Resources Law, at Chicago.


  1. David Garen says:

    You should add to your resources list your 2013 paper “Integrating Water Management in the Anthropocene” as well as David Groenfeldt’s new book “Water Ethics”.

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