The Right to Water


When the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights was drafted more than 60 years ago, water was not included in the list of protected rights. The rationale was simple. Water, like air, was considered so fundamental to life that naming a right to it would have been redundant.

Times have changed.

Despite our daily dependence on water to live, access to fresh water is far from equal or guaranteed. Of the world’s population, nearly 2.5 billion people live in water-stressed areas of the world and 3 billion have no running water within a kilometre of their homes. Every eight seconds, a child dies of water-borne disease – deaths that would be easily preventable with access to clean, safe water.

Global water corporations, international financial institutions, trade agreements, governments and even parts of the United Nations have been promoting privatization and commodification of water as a way to deal with this crisis.

But the evidence shows that privatization leads to rising water rates, unclean water – and of course, soaring corporate profits. Water should be safe, affordable, and accessible to everyone, not just those who can afford to pay.

Without immediate action, inequality and human suffering will only worsen. The UN predicts that by 2025, the number of people deprived of water will climb to over 3 billion. Such disparity is an affront to the world’s shared humanity and threatens our future security. Water scarcity is a common source of conflict in this new century and promises to become more so. And for many developing nations, the lack of proper infrastructure to deliver clean water only perpetuates and worsens poverty.

The Blue Planet Project works with partners and allies world-wide to protect water for people and nature for generations to come.  We support grassroots struggles to protect democratic, community control of water, and are pushing governments to provide clean, safe water in all countries as required by the UN Human Right to Water and Sanitation resolution. Passed on July 10, 2010, the resolution recognizes access to clean water as “essential for the full enjoyment of the right to life.”

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