A Human Right to Groundwater?

19 Pages Posted: 27 May 2011

See all articles by Maria Gavouneli

Maria Gavouneli

National & Kapodistrian University of Athens

Date Written: May 11, 2011


Within a few months in 2010, both the UN General Assembly and the Human rights Council affirmed a human right to safe drinking water. The present paper purports to identify the impact, if any, of these declarations of an already-existing or emerging right to water and its repercussions on the proper management of transboundary aquifers, a shared resource, which the International Law Commission sought to regulate in its 2008 Draft Articles on the Law of Transboundary Aquifers. Reviewing existing binding and non-binding instruments and related State practice, I argue that there exists today a mature right to clean water, encompassing specific obligations for States to provide and enforce verifiable standards in a market environment. Although the law of transboundary aquifers is in a nascent form, there is no reason not to import the polished quality requirements of the right to water in order to further identify and fulfill the basic human needs, it has set out to address. The achievements of the human rights field may and must be transferred into the emerging water law, in order to educate and clarify its concepts and ensure its effective implementation.

Keywords: Right to water, human rights, groundwater, ILC, draft articles on transboundary aquifers

Suggested Citation

Gavouneli, Maria, A Human Right to Groundwater? (May 11, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1838395 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1838395

Maria Gavouneli (Contact Author)

National & Kapodistrian University of Athens ( email )

Academias 45
Athens, 10672
+302103688627 (Phone)

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