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Human Right to Water

More than a billion people in the developing world lack safe drinking water – an amenity those in the developed
world take for granted. Nearly three billion people live without access to adequate sanitation systems necessary
for reducing exposure to water-related diseases. The failure of the international aid community, nations, and local
organizations to satisfy these basic human needs has led to substantial, unnecessary, and preventable human

The Pacific Institute argues that access to a basic water requirement is a fundamental human right implicitly and
explicitly supported by international law, declarations, and State practice. Governments, international aid agencies,
non-governmental organizations, and local communities should work to provide all humans with a basic water requirement and to guarantee that water as a human right. By acknowledging a human right to water and expressing the willingness to meet this right for those currently deprived of it, the water community would have a useful tool for addressing one of the most fundamental failures of 20th century development.

With the release of The World's Water Volume 7, Peter Gleick talks with EOS, newspaper of the American Geophysical Union, about "Meeting Basic Human Needs for Water presents Huge Challenge." (November 2011)

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Human Right to Water (PDF)

El derecho humano al agua (PDF) (en Español)

Water Related Deaths [Report]

A Review of Decision-Making Support Tools in the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Sector


Oakland Research Matters in Historic South African Water Rights Decision

More about our Water Program

More about our International Water and Communities Initiative