Graduation Year

Fall 2012

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


International Relations

Reader 1

Jennifer Taw

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2012 Ethan Gilbert


Water is the most important resource on the planet for sustaining life, and many consider access to water as a fundamental human right. However, in light of its necessity, the distribution and allocation of water has become a highly politicized issue. Economic and political conditions have been shown to be influential in shaping a country’s water policy, more so then recognition of water as a basic human right. The reason for this is that many agree that there needs to be a value assigned to water to encourage its conservation and efficient use, and different methods of addressing that issue have led to varying degrees of privatization of water. Whether through the private or public sector, there is an expectation that water be delivered to the people by the government, and it is often the influence of public and private actors within the government that direct the policy for water distribution. Using three cases in Chile, Mexico, and Uruguay it will be demonstrated how water policy has correlated with the political and economic changes within each country.