Water consumption and freshwater supplies are unevenly shared worldwide, while droughts and floods as extreme climate events are becoming more common. Water challenges cannot be addressed by technical means only. We must reflect on the trade-offs between economic and environmental concerns, and identify which water-related risks to prioritize. Thus, water ethics become an important analytical key in posing two critical questions: what values are at stake when we address the world’s water challenges, and who is affected by these water challenges? This links to questions of responsibility: to the extent that these water challenges are related to past behavior, the “past” may create a responsibility to address these present challenges, including when they materialize in other regions.