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The Human Right to Water

Article Review #1 The Human Right to Water by Peter Gleick

Jane Morrison

on 19 October 2011

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Transcript of The Human Right to Water

Article Review #1 Quick Summary Article Critique by Peter Gleick Discussion Questions 1. Do individuals have a legal right to a minimum amount of water and is there an obligation for states or other parties to provide these resources when they are lacking?

2. How much water is necessary to satisfy this human right for basic water needs?

3. Does a State have the right to receive water from another State in order to meet their minimum basic needs?

4. Is there value in explicitly acknowledging water as a human right?

5. Is achieving an adequate level of sanitation as important as access to clean drinking water? Universal access to basic water services is not being met!

"Access to a basic water requirement is a fundamental human right implicity and explicitly supported by international law, declarations, and State practice."

Water availability is not the problem!

The overall economic and social benefits of meeting basic water needs far outweigh the cost of providing these basic needs. Water is essential for all life - thus is a human right!

Value of explicitly acknowledging water as a human right?...

Water availability is not the main issue... but what is?

The overall economic and social benefits of meeting basic water needs far outweigh the cost of providing these basic needs. More analysis, more proof!

What about access to adequate sanitation services? The Human Right to Water Gleick believes:

1. Encourage a renewal of efforts and promote international discussion.

2. Concretize the human right to water as a priority - obtain obligations and responsibilities.

3. Maintain attention on the issue.

4. Raise awareness on need to address international watershed disputes and water conflicts over shared water.

5. Set priorities for water policy; this should take precedence over other water management and investment decisions. Gleick recommends (each person each day):

5 L for drinking
20 L for sanitation and hygiene
15 L for bathing
10 L for cooking per day
= 50 L per person per day

**Does not include water needed for agriculture and food growth - these do not necessarily rely on a local provision of water (food can be produced elsewhere and imported).

Gleick compiles evidence proving that:

Clean water is precondition to explicitly stated human rights.

Water is fundamental human resource - satisfying any standard of living cannot be achieved without water of sufficient quantity and quality.

State is obliged to provide the institutional, economic, and social environment necessary to fulfill human right requirements.

Gleick concludes:

A country is not allowed to exploit a shared water source if it results in a neighbouring country not meeting its basic water needs.

Main Issues:

Local governance and corruption

Poor monitoring and service networks

Lack of community education, investment, or support

Misguided aid and investment

Lack of accountability and ownership of water service infrastructure

Etc. etc. Presented by: Jane Morrison
Date: Sept. 15, 2011
Full transcript