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Laws 2015, 4(3), 413-471; doi:10.3390/laws4030413

The Human Right to Water in Law and Implementation

1
CEMDS (Centre for Environmental Management and Decision Support), Gregor Mendel Str. 33, 1180 Vienna, Austria
2
School of Excellence in Law, The Tamil Nadu Dr. Ambedkar Law University, 600028 Chennai, India
3
Competence Centre for Decision-Aid in Environmental Management, DIBB, University of Natural Resources and Life Science (BOKU), 1180 Vienna, Austria
4
Centre of Digital Human Rights at the Research Institute (RI), 1170 Vienna, Austria
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 19 June 2015 / Revised: 25 July 2015 / Accepted: 30 July 2015 / Published: 7 August 2015
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Abstract

Recent concerns about alleged insufficient water provision to the poor in Detroit, USA, has put the Human Right to Water (HRW) into the international discussion. The paper asks: “To what extent did international human rights treaties make HRW judiciable?” and “How did government policies implement it?” In a cross-country comparison of performance indicators, merely accepting HRW has not been helpful in promoting affordable access to potable water or sanitation facilities close to the home, amongst the reasons being deficiencies in water-governance. Case-law confirmed that with respect to affordable access HRW obliges governments to a “progressive realization” only, also in countries accepting HRW (India, South Africa). The paper focuses on the resulting positive state obligation to establish funding programs for better water and sanitation services and analyzes funding policies by a mathematical model of policy goals. It identifies two viable goals namely the successful support for the poor, as in developing countries, and the most economic use of public funds, as in industrialized countries. Other goals conceivable for the model have been tried in the past and failed.
Keywords: access to improved water and sanitation services; cross country comparison; governance indicators; goals for infrastructure funding; mathematical policy modeling; progressive realization of social and economic human rights access to improved water and sanitation services; cross country comparison; governance indicators; goals for infrastructure funding; mathematical policy modeling; progressive realization of social and economic human rights
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Brunner, N.; Mishra, V.; Sakthivel, P.; Starkl, M.; Tschohl, C. The Human Right to Water in Law and Implementation. Laws 2015, 4, 413-471.

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