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Water as a Human Right

Water History and Culture

  1. Laurel Phoenix

Published Online: 15 JUL 2005

DOI: 10.1002/047147844X.wh41

Water Encyclopedia

Water Encyclopedia

How to Cite

Phoenix, L. 2005. Water as a Human Right. Water Encyclopedia. 4:769–772.

Author Information

  1. Green Bay, Wisconsin

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JUL 2005


The human right to physical and economic access to water has recently been declared by nongovernmental institutions and civil society groups worldwide. The movement to establish this right has been driven by two related issues. First, global populations are currently experiencing a water crisis predicted to become much worse. Second, the growing global trend of water privatization has created additional concerns regarding access to potable water. An introduction to the global water crisis of rising demand from population growth and industrialization for limited resources (water) is given here. Included is a discussion of global privatization trends and the support that some international governmental organizations give to private water corporations and the effects of this privatization on poor citizens. Human rights and governmental obligations to their citizens are discussed in reference to providing potable water to all citizens.


  • human rights;
  • water access;
  • global water crisis;
  • privatization;
  • drinking water;
  • affordability;
  • intergenerational water resources;
  • globalization;
  • intergovernmental organizations;
  • government obligation;
  • subsidies