Is Water a Human Right?

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Is Water a Human Right? by GARRETT HEANEY “Access to safe water is a fundamental human need and, therefore, a basic human right. Contaminated water jeopardizes both the physical and social health of all people. It is an affront to human dignity.” — Kofi Annan, prior United Nations Secretary-General … If only the issue of water as a human right was as simple as Kofi Annan’s perspective. A world where humans have a well defined set of undeniable rights is an important goal for this generation. But aside from rights, the human race has a more dire set of biological needs that it must secure in order to survive. When someone is denied a right, they suffer. When someone is denied a need, they die. Air, food and water are the most…show more content…
If they were, there would be no water crises. That is an important realization for all humans — governments are not always capable of solving problems. Legislative lessons In research, we reviewed national laws and the constitutions of countries across the world, to determine how successful governments were in both acknowledging a human right to water, and enforcing it. Our findings varied, and rather than creating a comprehensive list of water laws by country, I will refer you to The Water Law and Standards Website — a joint project of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO), located at This is a searchable database of specific water laws by individual country or by region, with the ability to tailor search results to varying degrees of detail, including direct quotations from parliamentary and constitutional frameworks. What we gained from this research was not a thorough understanding of the legislative measures that governments are taking to provide water to the citizens within their borders. Rather, we learned the general lesson that governments, regardless of their resources or political structure, are not the most reliable or capable entities to provide for human beings
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