Is Water a Human Right?
Life on our planet is sustained by water. For some it is abundant and for others scarce. As the number of people has increased to ~7 billion our needs for freshwater have dramatically increased. While our planet is 70% water, only 2.5% is freshwater and only 1% of it is accessible.
We know water is essential but is water a human need or a human right? While the distinction may seem subtle, it is a big difference. If it is a human need and it is scarce then it needs to be treated as a commodity and priced to reflect its value so it will not be wasted. If it is a right, then every person has the right to access sufficient water. In the United States, there are many mentions of water, but it is not written that water is a human right. Internationally, the United Nations General Assembly voted in 2010 to recognize the “right to safe and clean drinking water as a human right.” As you can imagine this issue is not resolved. There are 790 million people without sufficient water in the world today.