In 20 years time, some three of the eight billion people on earth will, if present trends continue, lack access to sufficient drinkable water. Already, half that number do not and another two billion lack clean water generally. The rest of humanity faces a degradation in fresh water quality. And there is no body of international law regulating the right and access to fresh water supplies. Ricardo Petrella exposes how corporate interests prevent an adequate response, and a market-oriented system that sees water as a commodity rather than a precious resource and fundamental human right. He calls for a world water contract to enshrine fresh water as an essential good. It should be controlled by communities in the public interest, and with international rules for equitable management and distribution.