The Right to Water

SUMMARY: The Blue Planet Project and its founder, Maude Barlow, were instrumental in securing UN recognition of the human right to water and sanitation. We are working with groups around the world to implement this right so that water is safe, affordable, and accessible to everyone, including poor and marginalized communities.

PROBLEM SPACE: Humanity is polluting, diverting, and depleting the Earth’s finite water resources at a dangerous and steadily increasing rate. Many of the world’s major rivers no longer reach the sea, including the Yellow River in China, the Colorado River in the United States, and the Nile in Egypt. In the quest for increasingly scarce clean water, we are mining groundwater faster than nature can replenish it. And the growing commodification of the world’s water from privatization of municipal water supplies, land grabs by investment funds and other means threatens to further restrict access to water to only those who can pay for it.

Every year, more people die from unsafe water than from all forms of violence including war. Some 3.6 million people, 1.5 million of whom are children, die every year from water-related diseases. Two and a half billion people currently live without basic sanitation services. The global water crisis is deepening. If current trends continue, two thirds of people on the planet will not have adequate access to clean water by the year 2025. The lack of access to clean water and sanitation, in terms of numbers affected, is arguably the most urgent human rights issue.

SOLUTION: The UN right to water and sanitation resolutions were a breakthrough in the global struggle for water justice. They have provided new tools to protect water for people and nature, and to ensure access to water by all, including poor and marginalized communities.

We now need to ensure that communities understand and use these tools in local struggles to protect water.

The Blue Planet Project provides analysis on the social, environmental, political and economic aspects of the global water crisis. We put tools to protect water sources and access to water into the hands of those most affected by the crisis, and ensure they are actively involved in developing and implementing solutions.

We empower people and communities by supporting grassroots campaigns, building on-the-ground capacity, and bringing international solidarity to local struggles.

We promote the adoption of human right to water legislation at the national level that establishes a hierarchy of use prioritizing basic human needs and watershed protection.

We also work at the international level to address systemic causes of water poverty by challenging trade and investment agreements that give corporations extraordinary power to challenge government environmental policies.

We are based in the US and have staff working globally.

CONTACT PERSON: [email protected]