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M. A. I nternati onal Law and Settlement of Di sputes
Uni ted Nati ons Uni versi ty for Peace
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Reseorcb Problem. Siqnificonce. lnquirv onJ HetboJoloqv 7

../*56#*73&('*+%860*01*9(0#"*%'*.'0#"'(0%1'($*:(;<*=13"4#*('2*>1'0#'0 12

A. Tbe Bevelopment of on lnternotionol Consensus 14
B. Befininq tbe leqol Source of tbe Riqbt to Woter 21
C. Tbe Normotive Content of tbe Riqbt to Woter onJ tbe Responsibilities 26
ReloteJ Tbereto
B. Proqressive lmplementotion Su

.../*?'2#"-0('2%'8*06#*@A%'%&3&*>1"#B*C1"*9(0#" S2

A. Tbe Hinimum Core Concept 6enerollv S2
B. Tbe Hinimum Core for tbe Riqbt to Woter SS
C. A Note on Sonitotion S8

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A. Norm Creotion onJ Tronsmission ot tbe Notionol level 41
B. Tbe Notionol Fnsbrinement of Riqbts onJ on lntroJuction to tbe 44
Cose low
C. A Note on Betermininq o Specific Number of liters for tbe Hinimum
Core 46
B. Review of Notionol Cose low 47
1. Belgium 47
2. Inuia 49
S. Banglauesh anu Pakistan S4
4. The Philippines S9
S. Inuonesia 61
6. Aigentina 6S
7. Colombia 68
8. 0thei Regions: Continental Afiica, NENA, Noith Ameiica anu 71
the Pacific
9. South Afiica 74

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A. Brief Anolvsis 8S
B. ln Conclusion 87

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* Alphabetical ¡ Thematic 9u¡1uS
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! "[t]be tbinqs wbicb ore noturollv evervboJv´s ore oir. flowinq woter. tbe seo onJ tbe seo sbore."
1


!"We never know tbe wortb of woter until tbe well is Jrv."
2


0vei the past seveial uecaues people have begun to woiiy about watei. Fiom the
acauemy to the sciences, fiom those toiling at the Bai to those foimulating policy, incieaseu
attention to the evei-woisening plight of the woilu's most valuable iesouice has inspiieu
the publication of euiteu volumes, the foimulation of countless whitepapeis anu even the
piouuction of uocumentaiy films. This incieaseu piofessional attention, howevei, is
minimal when compaieu with the uaily haiuship watei scaicity causes those one billion
people woiluwiue who lack basic access. Aftei all, watei's funuamentality to human uignity
is uifficult to unueistate. Watei is a necessity foi uomestic life anu hygiene, an agiicultuial
element, an economic tool anu even a spiiitual symbol.
This essay attempts to contiibute to the ongoing acauemic uialogue suiiounuing
watei anu its centiality to human life. Its puipose is to pioviue insight into what may be the
most notable watei management innovation in human histoiy: the univeisal human iight
to watei. Specifically, this essay seeks to outline the souice anu content of the iight to
watei anu that iight's "minimum coie" - both concepts that have ieacheu the level of
positive inteinational law. It then summaiizes the iecent woik of numeious national couits
"giving content" to the human iight to watei, auuiessing the ways in which the
inteinational legal noim is stiengtheneu oi challengeu by this juiispiuuence. Without an
inteinational bouy capable of enfoicement, the human iight to watei uepenus on the
activity of national couits to make its philosophical "univeisality" a mattei of legal fact.
Inevitably an effoit like this one cannot stanu alone, but insteau takes its place in a
histoiy that goveins its content anu ueteimines it peisuasiveness. Nany authois have


1
Iustinian, Inst. 2.1.1, quoteJ in J. Getzler, A History of Water Rights at Common Law 67 (2uu4).

2
Thomas Fuller, Gnomologia: Adages and Proverbs; Wise Sentences and Witty Sayings, Ancient and
Modern, Foreign and British 2S7 (BiblioLife 2u1u) (17S2). *

2
attempteu to uefine "watei histoiy" in iecent yeais, anu a stuuy of the iecent past may be
helpful in contextualizing the aiguments to come.
S
We begin, then, wheie otheis leave off.

!./*.F5+KE?>5.KF: The Nouein Age - "Watei Buieauciacy anu a New Buman Right"

0ibanization, explosive consumption anu iesouice pollution have foiceu human
society to uevise evei moie ingenious ways to extiact, tieat anu stoie watei. The methous
employeu have become so complex that touay they can only be manageu by an actoi with
the iequisite technical capacity. 0nueistanuably, this intiicate woik involves a ceitain cost.
which gives the mouein peiiou a poweiful economic uimension.
4
The home goveinment
ietains the piimaiy iesponsibility foi this buiuen. When the cost of infiastiuctuial
uevelopment becomes piohibitive, howevei, states may also uelegate seivice ueliveiy to
piivate inteiests. Foi this ieason most inuiviuuals, once peisonally iesponsible foi
collecting the watei iequiieu foi uaily life, must now petition a bureoucrocv of state anu
non-state actois foi access - a significant step in human uevelopment. In the economies of
the ulobal Noith, most "consumeis" secuie access thiough payment. This mouel has been
imitateu by anu in some places foiceu upon those ueveloping countiies seeking to mimic
Noithein giowth.
S
In both hemispheies, money is now the easiest (anu sometimes the
only) way to access the clean watei necessaiy to sustain human life.
6



S
The analysis below, while oiiginal, is baseu on the analytical mouels of authois like Fekii Bassan. Bassan bieaks uown
the last 2S,uuu yeais into "thiesholus in watei histoiy," uemonstiating the co-uevelopment of eaily civilizations with
theii appioaches to iesouice management anu pioving that watei shoitage has always been an engine of human
innovation. Fekii A. Bassan, Woter Honoqement onJ Forlv Civilizotions: from Cooperotion to Conflict. in History and
Future of Shared Water Resources, 2 (0NESC0 eu., 2uuS), ovoiloble ot
http:¡¡unesuoc.unesco.oig¡images¡uu1S¡uu1SS2¡1SS286e.puf. 0thei authois involveu in the same histoiical analysis
incluue Naitin Reuss, Eistoricol Fxplonotion onJ Woter lssues. in the same volume at 2u. Foi an illustiation of the
evolution of watei conflict acioss human histoiy, see geneially Peter Gleick, Woter Brief Iour: Woter Conflict
Cbronoloqv. in The World’s Water 2008-2009: The Biennial Report on Freshwater Resources 1S1 (2uu9).

4
See Bassan at 2 ("|T]he cost of piocuiing watei is a function of the combineu cost of extiaction¡haivesting,
tianspoitation, tieatment, stoiage, anu ueliveiy. Theie is thus inevitably an economic aspect of watei availability.").

S
The policies of lenuing institutions like the Woilu Bank anu INF tieateu watei as an economic commouity, hoping that
by seeking full cost iecoveiy they woulu uis-incentivize waste anu pieseive iesouices. See Eiik B. Bluemel, Tbe
lmplicotions of Iormulotinq o Eumon Riqbt to Woter. S1 Ecology L.Q. 9S7, 962 (2uu4). Resouice piivatization may be a
legally viable mouel of piovision in some ciicumstances, subject to a seiious consiueiation of population neeus anu state
capacity. See authoi's uiscussion, infro n. SS4.

6
Watei piice has become a key economic inuicatoi. See. e.q.. U.N. Dev. Programme, Beyond Scarcity: Power,
Poverty and the Global Water Crisis: UNDP Human Development Report 2006 SS fig. 1.1S (2uu6).
|heieinaftei Report 2006]: Arnaud Courtecuisse, Agence de l’Eau Artois-Picardie, Water Prices and
Households’ Available Income: Key Indicators for the Assessment of Potential Disproportionate Costs -
Illustration from the Artois-Picardie Basin (France) (2uu7), ovoiloble ot
http:¡¡www.balwois.com¡balwois¡auministiation¡full_papei¡ffp-846.puf.
S
At the basis of watei buieauciacy exists a poweiful anu well-establisheu legal
stiuctuie founueu on the oiganizing piinciple of state soveieignty.
7
Foi many yeais the
noimative focus of this legal system has been the uevelopment anu management of
national infiastiuctuie, with an emphasis on efficiency anu piofitability achieveu thiough
the use of technology, planning anu scientific uata.
8
This stiategy has been legally
ieinfoiceu on a national level thiough the passage of watei management laws, iipaiian
schemes anu consumei contiacts. These laws govein "civil watei iights" - uomestic
entitlements gianteu by the state with an acknowleugement that the state's iesouice
inteiests iemain pieeminent.
9
Such a Westphalian focus moie easily peimits the
expiopiiation of watei iights to piivate coipoiations wheie seen as satisfying the national
inteiest. This piivate coopeiation, though aiguably necessaiy foi infiastiuctuial giowth in
some ciicumstances, often fuithei alienates inuiviuuals fiom iesouice management.
1u

At the inteinational level, the uefinition of access iights has tiauitionally laggeu
behinu othei watei conceins.
11
In the last seveial uecaues, howevei, inteinational law has
begun to consiuei the piopei place foi inuiviuuals anu communities within watei
management. Initially, the inteinational appioach miiioieu conceins foi economic
efficiency anu piofitability founu on the uomestic level. Such an emphasis was at the heait
of the investment policies of majoi lenuing institutions uevelopeu in the Reagan-Thatchei



7
This focus is eviuenceu by the pieponueiance of national anu local laws goveining watei usage, anu the explicit
piotection of teiiitoiial integiity anu soveieign state powei by eaily watei management law at the inteinational level. Foi
a uiscussion of the lattei, see Thoisten Kiefei & Catheiine Biolmann, BevonJ Stote Sovereiqntv: Tbe Eumon Riqbt to Woter.
S(S) Non-State Actors & Int’l L. 18S, 18S (2uuS). *

8
See Bluemel supro note S, at 9S7. See olso qenerollv Maude Barlow, Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis
and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water (2uu8).

9
Foi a uiscussion of uiffeiences between civil anu human iesouice iights see Aijun K. Khauka, Tbe Fmerqence of Woter
os o ´Eumon Riqbt´ on tbe WorlJ Stoqe: Cbollenqes onJ 0pportunities. 26(1) Int’l J. Water Res. Dev. S7, 4u (2u1u).
Foi a basic explanation of civil watei iights anu theii national anu iegional vaiiations, see geneially Steven Hodgson,
FAO Legal Office, Modern Water Rights: Theory and Practice (2uu6), ovoiloble ot
ftp:¡¡ftp.fao.oig¡uociep¡fao¡u1u¡au864e¡au864euu.puf.

1u
In the ueveloping woilu those souices not uiiectly contiolleu by goveinments weie claimeu oi puichaseu by piofit-
taking piivate inuustiy anu secuieu with legal foice. uoveinment initiatives to ieclaim those iights, theieby expiopiiating
piivate inteiests anu ieintiouucing uemociatic uecision-making, continue to piove challenging. Cf.. Anuiew Bollanu,
Cbile´s Constitution: Woter to be o Hotter of Notionol Securitv, Blog: The Transatlantic Dialogue on Climate Change
and Security (Ian. 26, 2u1u, S:S7 PN). http:¡¡climatesecuiity.blogspot.com¡2u1u¡u1¡chiles-constitution-watei-to-be-
mattei.html.

11
Bouiquain notes that the fiist logical place to look foi iights piotection woulu be the bouy of existing inteinational
law goveining watei management, but that this law - though ueveloping piinciples of no haim anu equitable, ieasonable
use - uo not sufficiently piotect a iight to peisonal access. Kurt Bourquain, Freshwater Access from a Human
Rights Perspective: A Challenge to International Water and Human Rights Law Su-S4 (2uu8).
This is not suipiising, howevei, as both customaiy anu tieaty law have laigely uevelopeu to maintain "inteinational peace
anu secuiity" anu enhance "inteinational coopeiation" - both coie objectives of the 0N Chaitei. See 0. N. Chaitei, ait.1.
4
eia.
12
Intei-goveinmental ueclaiations anu piofessional opinion also initially suppoiteu
this position. The 1992 "Bublin Statement," otheiwise a piogiessive tieatment of watei
management, notably helu that "watei has an economic value in all its competing uses anu
shoulu be iecognizeu as an economic goou."
1S
An economic tieatment of watei was aigueu
at the time to encouiage conseivation by "uisincentivizing" waste.
The extensive ieach of watei buieauciacy anu its national¡inteinational legal
stiuctuie has hau a unique meaning foi inuiviuuals, who have been moveu to the peiipheiy
of iesouice management. The biith of a global, fiee-maiket economy with an emphasis on
state soveieignty anu economic efficiency has laigely piohibiteu inuiviuuals anu
communities fiom a iole in uecision-making uue to theii compaiative economic weakness.
With a focus on cost iecoveiy above human neeu anu without the ability to incoipoiate
people into iesouice planning, the mouein system inauequately piotects the pooi.
Infiastiuctuial auvancements once hopeu foi have faileu to mateiialize, anu the neglect of
inuiviuual neeu has hau uiamatic implications foi oui "watei age."
Fiist, (a) pooi infiastiuctuie anu the exacting piice of watei have taken an
enoimous toll on human health anu piouuctivity.

In some ueveloping contexts, ovei Su% of
the population lacks basic access.
14
ulobally, neaily one billion people cannot uiaw fiom an
impioveu souice of watei,
1S
a ieality that costs the lives of ovei two million people eveiy
yeai.
16
Some estimate that watei collection times alone cost Afiica ovei 4u billion woik-
houis annually.
17
0f couise, the buiuen is shoulueieu mainly by women anu young giils


12
It is commonly helu that the neo-libeial policies of the Reagan anu Thatchei goveinments cieateu the impetus foi
maiket-baseu uevelopment lenuing geneially, anu that this impetus most cleaily manifesteu itself in watei management
thiough the imposition of piivatization schemes. See Barlow, supro note 8, at S6.

1S
Inteinational Confeience on Watei anu the Enviionment, Bublin, Ii., Ian. 26-S1, 1992, Tbe Bublin Stotement on Woter
onJ Sustoinoble Bevelopment." piinc. 4 at 7 (1992) ("|W]atei has an economic value in all its competing uses anu shoulu
be iecognizeu as an economic goou. . . . |It is] the basic iight of all human beings to have access to clean watei . . . at an
affoiuable piice. . . . Nanaging watei as an economic goou is an impoitant way of achieving efficient anu equitable use, anu
of*encouiaging conseivation anu piotection of watei iesouices."). The tieatment of "the basic iight" to watei, while
piogiessive, was unuoubteuly meant to be ieau in light of the economic piinciple of cost-iecoveiy. See Bluemel, supro
note S, at 96S, 96S, foi a uiscussion.

14
Stephen C. NcCaffiey, A Eumon Riqbt to Woter: Bomestic onJ lnternotionol lmplicotions. S(1) Geo. Int’l Envtl. L.
Rev. 1, 6 (1992).

1S
World Health Org. & U. N. Children’s Fund Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and
Sanitation, Progress in Drinking-water and Sanitation: Special Focus on Sanitation (2uu8), ovoiloble ot
http:¡¡www.who.int¡watei_sanitation_health¡monitoiing¡jmp2uu8¡en¡inuex.html. *

16
World Health Organization et al., The Right to Water 6 (2uuS), ovoiloble ot
http:¡¡www.who.int¡watei_sanitation_health¡iightowatei |heieinaftei WHO Right to Water].

17
Report 2006, supro note 6, at 1S.
S
who often holu the cultuial iesponsibility foi watei collection.
18
All chiluien, uue to theii
uevelopmental vulneiability, aie especially affecteu by watei scaicity. Woiluwiue, 44S
million school uays aie lost eveiy yeai to watei anu sanitation ielateu sickness.
19

The thieat to human uevelopment is compounueu by (b) ovei-extiaction anu
pollution, (c) ceitain enviionmental phenomena like climate change anu (u) a social
inability to effectively iesponu to the ciisis at hanu.
2u

Pollution anu ovei-extiaction continue to stiess iesouice availability foi human
suivival, agiicultuie anu economic activity.
21
Both stem fiom unsafe anu unsustainable
agiicultuial anu inuustiial piactices,
22
piimaiily at the hanus of multi-national
coipoiations involveu in laige-scale faiming oi commeicial activities like bottling, mining
anu manufactuiing.
2S
Pollution anu ovei-exploitation iiieveisibly uegiaue accessible,
ienewable iesouices foi human consumption.
24

Climate change has been pieuicteu to have an enoimous global impact on watei
iesouices. By 2u2u, foi example, 7S-22u million Afiicans aie piojecteu to expeiience
climate change-ielateu watei stiess.
2S

Finally, inuiviuuals anu communities - once the piimaiy uecision-makeis in watei
management - aie now so alienateu fiom the system that theii social commons can no


18
lJ.: see olso. Henry Steiner, Philip Alston & Ryan Goodman, International Human Rights in Context: Law,
Politics, Morals 266 (Siu eu. 2uu8).

19
Report 2006, supro note 6, at 4S.

2u
The alteinative mouel of "Buman Bevelopment," uevelopeu piimaiily by Bi. Nahub ul Buq, has since become a
commonplace teim in uevelopment economics anu will be useu wiuely in this text. Foi an explanation of its oiigins anu
content see geneially U.N. Dev. Programme, Human Development Report 1990: The Concept and Measurement
of Human Development (199u).

21
See qenerollv, Report 2006, supro note 6.

22
Even in the uevelopeu woilu, agiicultuie is the piimaiy souice of pollution foi aquifeis, the laigest souices of
giounuwatei foi uomestic use. Inuustiial pollution mainly taigets suiface iesouices. Joan Goldstein, Demanding
Clean Food and Water: The Fight for a Basic Human Right 127 (199u).

2S
Nultinational coipoiations involveu in the pollution oi ovei-extiaction of iesouices weie iesponsible foi some of the
fiist legal battles foi watei iights. See. e.q.. Maike Gorsboth, FoodFirst Information and Action Network,
Identifying and Addressing Violations of the Human Right to Water: Applying the Human Rights Approach
12 et seq. (2uu6), ovoiloble ot http:¡¡www.fian.oig¡iesouices¡uocuments¡otheis¡iuentifying-anu-auuiessing-violations-
of-the-human-iight-to-watei¡.seaichteim=iuentifying%2uanu%2uauuiessing (outlining watei iights stiuggles involving
Newmont Nining Coip, Coca-Cola Coip. anu Consoicio Biuioeneigético uel Litoial)

24
It shoulu be noteu that the woilu is not "iunning out of watei" in a liteial way. In fact, the global watei supply fai
outweighs human consumptive neeus by thousanus of times. Touay's uistuibing tienu involves the iiiepaiable
uenigiation of those accessible, ienewable iesouices of giounu anu suiface watei (of which humans alieauy exploit ovei
Su%) thiough pollution, sinking, anu ueseitification. Foi a uiscussion see Peter Gleick, Peok Woter. in The World’s
Water 2008-2009: The Biennial Report on Freshwater Resources 1, S (2uu9).

2S
Intei-uoveinmental Panel on Climate Change |IuPCC], Climote Cbonqe 2007: Svntbesis Report Su (Nov. 17, 2uu7),
ovoiloble ot http:¡¡www.ipcc.ch¡puf¡assessment-iepoit¡ai4¡syi¡ai4_syi.puf.
6
longei mouify itself to changes in supply.
26
In the NENA iegion, an aiea in which most
countiies aie classifieu "watei scaice," social evolution alloweu foi the auequate
uistiibution of iesouices foi neaily Suuu yeais.
27
Touay, shoitage is commonplace. The
alienation of useis thiough the imposition of buieauciacy, while necessaiy foi giowth,
bypasses humanity's inboin coping mechanisms foi iesouice scaicity. As available
ienewable anu non-ienewable iesouices have uwinuleu ovei the last centuiy, global watei
consumption has iisen six-folu, at a iate twice that of population giowth.
28
Watei use is
piojecteu to iise by 4u% in the next two uecaues alone.
29

The hope foi the inuiviuual at the heait of "watei buieauciacy" comes with the
simultaneous uevelopment of a human iights paiauigm. Foi the fiist time, inuiviuuals aie
offeieu a mechanism foi the ieuiess of those violations against theii human uignity once
committeu with impunity. The human iights appioach involves emphasizing state
iesponsibility in the piotection of natuial entitlements - like basic access to uiinking watei
- to the absolute extent possible without uisciimination. This emphasis makes states both
politically anu legally accountable when they fail to meet theii obligations.
Su
As such, the
human iights appioach seeks to ciitically iefoim the ielationship between the citizen-
stakeholuei anu the state, anu to enshiine this tiansfoimation into binuing law. Buman
iights law is fiist uevelopeu at the inteinational level - establishing entitlements that aie
essentially "univeisal" - anu is then tianslateu thiough tieaty, custom anu national
legislation into locally binuing stanuaius of state behavioi.
In the miu-199us, the inteinational community began to ciiticize the iole of maiket
economics in iesouice piovision as inauequate foi the equitable satisfaction of human
neeu. It was believeu that piioi watei management hau maue piovision to the pooi cost-


26
Watei limitations in Bassan's mouel, foi example, foiceu natuial changes in population numbeis, concentiation,
activity anu migiation. See Bassan. supro note S, at 2-S.

27
See Baviu B. Biooks, Eumon Riqbts to Woter in Nortb Africo onJ tbe HiJJle Fost: Wbot is New onJ Wbot is Not; Wbot is
lmportont onJ Wbot is Not. 2S(2) Int’l J. Water Res. Dev 227, 227-28 (2uu7). NENA is the Niuule East anu Noith Afiica.

28
The global population stanus at appioximately 6.8 billion anu is piojecteu to inciease upwaius of 2 billion by 2uSu.
See U. N. Dep’t of Econ. and Soc. Affairs, The Word at Six Billion, 0.N. Boc. ESA¡P¡WP.1S4 (1999),
http:¡¡www.un.oig¡esa¡population¡publications¡sixbillion¡sixbillion.htm, os moJifieJ bv U. N. Dep’t of Econ. and
Soc. Affairs, World Population Prospects: the 2008 Revision 0.N. Boc. ST¡ESA¡SER.A¡287 (2uu8), ovoiloble ot
http:¡¡esa.un.oig¡unpu¡wpp2uu8¡peps_uocuments.htm.

29
See Report 2006, supro note 6, at 1SS-1S8. The 0niteu Nations estimates that by 2uSu, ovei 1.S billion people coulu
live in watei scaice aieas of less than 1,uuu cubic meteis pei peison, well below the 1,7uu cubic liteis iequiieu foi
agiicultuie, inuustiy, eneigy anu the enviionment, lJ. at 1S1, fig. 4.S.

Su
Gorsboth, supro note 2S, at 1.
7
piohibitive, iesulting in the immense human suffeiing outlineu above. Slowly theie giew a
geneial uistiust of olu uevelopment policies,
S1
anu this shift fiom maiket-baseu
globalization to an emphasis on civil society culminateu with calls foi the iecognition of a
"new" human iight to watei.
S2
As with any othei human iights-baseu legal entitlement, the
iight to watei iequiieu a founuation in inteinational law befoie it coulu be uomestically
asseiteu. The legal enfoiceability of a univeisal human iight to watei iemaineu uubious,
howevei, as watei was not explicitly mentioneu in the covenant enshiining similai socio-
economic iights.

Reseorcb Problem. Siqnificonce. lnquirv onJ HetboJoloqv

Foitunately, a iecent piolifeiation in the numbei of inteinational ueclaiations anu
instiuments tieating watei as a human iight now pioviues some legal challenge to this
initial inueteiminacy. In fact, state piactice, legal opinion anu tieaty inteipietation all
cuiiently point towaiu the existence of an inuepenuent, univeisal iight to watei in
inteinational law. The most helpful legal uefinition of this iight is founu in ueneial
Comment 1S of the 0.N. Committee on Economic, Social anu Cultuial Rights (CESCR).
SS
The
Committee's authoiitative inteipietation, in claiifying state obligations unuei the
Inteinational Covenant on Economic, Social anu Cultuial Rights (ICESCR), sets
iequiiements of quality, availability anu accessibility. It also outlines the iight's
immeuiately enfoiceable "minimum coie" - a conceptual tool uistinguishing exigent state
obligations fiom the otheiwise piogiessive implementation of the iight.
S4



S1
A consensus uevelopeu in the miu- to late-9us that allowing economics to ueteimine watei piovision without
consiueiation foi human neeu was causing seiious suffeiing, iesulting in a geneial uistiust of olu uevelopment policies
anu a new focus on human iights. Bluemel, supro note S, at 96S.

S2
Foi authois like Iayyousi, the emeigence of a human iights appioach to watei is eviuence of the foices of civil society
globalization balancing with the maiket-baseu globalization whose uominance to this point is uemonstiateu by the
uominance of watei issues by economic institutions. 0ueh al Iayyousi, Woter os o Eumon Riqbt: ToworJs Civil Societv
6lobolizotion. 2S(2) Int’l J. Water Res. Dev. S29, SSu-S1 (2uu7).

SS
Committee on Economic, Social anu Cultuial Rights |CESCR], ueneial Comment 1S: The Right to Watei, ¶2, 0.N. Boc.
E¡C.12¡2uu2¡11 (Ian., 2u, 2uuS), at
http:¡¡www.unhchi.ch¡tbs¡uoc.nsf¡u¡aS4S8u1u1bbu71Sfc12S6cc4uuS89e94.0penuocument |heieinaftei uC1S].

S4
CESCR, ueneial Comment S: The Natuie of States Paities' 0bligations, ¶14, 0.N. Boc. BRI¡uEN¡1¡Rev.6 at 14 (Bec. 14,
199u), at http:¡¡www.unhchi.ch¡tbs¡uoc.nsf¡u¡94bubafS9b4Sa424c12S6SeuuuS2b664.0penuocument |heieinaftei
uCS].
8
Inuiviuuals anu communities faceu with a lack of access to sufficient, safe, accessible
anu acceptable souices of watei foi peisonal consumption iequiie local access to this
inteinational legal stanuaiu uevelopeu foi the piotection of theii uignity. The uigency of
theii neeu is pioven by the seiiousness of the human ciisis outlineu above. Legal expeits
have been busy auapting human iights to the woik of watei access piotection in national
couitiooms,
SS
anu iecent cases fiom a vaiiety of juiisuictions have pioven that watei iights
aie now justiciable.
S6
0nfoitunately, the benefit of a human iight to watei is limiteu by two
inteiielateu factois. Fiist, the legal stanuaiu - uespite its noimative uevelopment at the
inteinational level - faces national enfoicement challenges stemming fiom an absence of
authoiitative tians-national case law. Foi this ieason the human iight to watei often lacks
the legal ueteiminacy of civil watei iights, even wheie explicitly incoipoiateu into
uomestic law. Seconuly, when choosing to asseit a iight to watei baseu on inteinational
noims, national couits aie left with an open conceptual space foi "content-giving," as watei
iights aie not explicitlv uelineateu in any tieaty.
S7
This conceptual space exists alongsiue
the inteipietative pioblems of "piogiessive implementation" faceu by all socio-economic
iights. This uual limitation is the ieseaich pioblem the piesent essay seeks to investigate.
This essay will focus entiiely on the univeisal human iight to watei, leaving a moie
thoiough investigation of the state-centiic watei management paiauigm anu its legal
stiuctuie to othei authois.
S8
The human iight to watei is the most notable watei
management innovation in mouein histoiy, as it seeks to place the inuiviuual back at the
centei of iesouice management. The goal of this essay is to claiify the legal content of this
iight - incluuing its minimum coie - anu to exploie the way in which national
juiispiuuence foi the piotection of "watei iights" inteiacts with this inteinational legal


SS
In national couits, theie has been a iecent shift fiom an abstiact, iueological steieotyping of socio-economic iights as
injusticiable oi less-enfoiceable towaiu an investigation of the technical anu juiisuictional issues that woulu peimit theii
litigation. See qenerollv Taia I. Nelish, Retbinkinq tbe "less os Hore" Tbesis: Supronotionol litiqotion of Fconomic. Sociol
onJ Culturol Riqbts in tbe Americos. S9(2) N.Y.U. J. Int’l L. & Pol. 171 (2uu6). *

S6
Ingla Winklei, IuJiciol Fnforcement of tbe Eumon Riqbt to Woter: Cose low from Soutb Africo. Arqentino onJ lnJio
Law, 2uu8(1) L. Soc. Just. & Global Dev. J. 1, 1S (0ct. 9, 2uu8),
http:¡¡www2.waiwick.ac.uk¡fac¡soc¡law¡elj¡lgu¡2uu8_1¡winklei¡. Winklei's ieview of national watei iights
juiispiuuence, though limiteu, is a helpful place to begin an investigation of juiispiuuential stanuaius anu was seminal to
the ieseaich foi this essay.

S7
Inteinational Covenant on Economic, Social anu Cultuial Rights, Bec. 16, 1966, 99S 0.N.T.S. S |heieinaftei ICESCR].

S8
Acauemic investigations of the histoiy anu legal stiuctuie of tiauitional, state-centiic watei iights incluue uetzlei's,
supro note 1, Bougson's, supro note 9, Anthony Scott & ueoigina Coustalin, Tbe Fvolution of Woter Riqbts. SS(4) Nat. Res.
J. 821 (199S), anu vaiious othei woiks concentiating on the national, iegional oi compaiative genesis of civil watei
iights.
9
constiuct. An unueistanuing of the inteiaction between uomestic anu inteinational law
shoulu allow the ieauei to be moie sensitive to the futuie woik of national couits in watei
iights enfoicement. Specifically, it shoulu facilitate an incieaseu unueistanuing of the
ieauei's legal entitlements at an inteinational level, incluuing the noimative uevelopment
of these entitlements anu the vaiious ways in which inuiviuual states aie bounu to iespect
them. Thiough the woik of this essay, the ieauei shoulu also come to unueistanu how
national enfoicement has piomoteu oi challengeu the conceptual integiity of these
entitlements in the iecent past. This unueistanuing is meant to benefit eveiyone -
stakeholuei, lawyei oi juuge - involveu in watei iights litigation by allowing the
"contempoiaiy histoiy" of watei iights to guiue futuie enfoicement effoits.
The internotionol human iight to watei will finu tiue meaning thiough the woik of
notionol couits in a way othei, fully couifieu socio-economic iights have not. If the iight to
watei is to be consiueieu a univeisal iight, the integiity of the inteinational legal noim
must be ieinfoiceu anu not weakeneu in its national application. Foi this ieason, the
piinciple ieseaich question foi the piesent essay asks, "What is the iight to watei as a
constiuct of inteinational law, anu how has this concept been tieateu by national couits."
The inquiiy is unuoubteuly a complex one, anu it may be helpful to outline seveial othei
questions unueipinning the pioceeuing analysis.
Fiist: What is the univeisal human iight to watei, both as a theoietical innovation in
human iights anu as a positive noim of inteinational law. What is the souice anu content
of such a iight, anu what enables it to withstanu the challenge of piogiessive
implementation faceu by othei, explicitly couifieu socio-economic iights.
Seconu: What is the concept of the minimum coie. What is its legal function anu
chaiactei in socio-economic iights enfoicement. Noie specifically, what is the minimum
coie foi a univeisal human iight to watei, anu what puipose uoes it seive within the laigei
watei iights paiauigm.
Thiiu: Bow uo states access anu piomote this new inteinational noim if it iemains
uncouifieu. Bow uoes the woik of states in applying anu inteipieting the univeisal human
iight to watei influence the position of stakeholueis (both at home anu abioau) anu affect
the conceptual integiity of the noim itself.
1u
Finally: Bow have national couits tieateu the univeisal iight to watei in theii
uomestic enfoicement of state obligations vis-à-vis stakeholueis. Bas iecent juiispiuuence
accesseu oi ignoieu the inteinational stanuaiu. Is the inteinational noim suppoiteu oi
challengeu by this ueveloping case law, anu what will this mean foi its futuie application.
Sections II anu III of this essay will outline the legal noim suiiounuing the univeisal
human iight to watei anu its minimum coie, tiacing theii souices anu uefining both theii
content anu coiiesponuing state obligations. This woik is laigely uesciiptive, a tiauitional
exeicise in inteinational legal constiuction that attempts to qualitatively outline an existing
iule of law by uiawing fiom its legal souices anu ueteimining its content with a view
towaiu the inteinational consensus ielateu to the iight. "Consensus" is eviuenceu by
states' use of national anu inteinational political ueclaiations, agieements anu laws in theii
tieatment of human iights, unueilying issues, oi even ielateu iights anu obligations. Wheie
uissent exists, it is noteu with an unueistanuing that a uiveisity of opinion may still suppoit
the legal existence of a iight without achieving unifoimity. Such a ieseaich methouology is
common in human iights liteiatuie.
The woik of Section II will uiaw fiom the foui "tiauitional" souices of inteinational
law: binuing convention, inteinational custom, geneial piinciple of law, anu the opinion of
legal expeits.
S9
Although pievious effoits to outline the global consensus suiiounuing
watei iights will piove inuispensible, this consensus continues to uevelop significantly.
Section II will theiefoie uiaw anew fiom the 0.N. Tieaty Seiies, the texts of iecent
uevelopment confeiences, 0.N. iesolutions, state ueclaiations anu legislation, scholaily
iights constiuctions, the iepoits of inteinational law associations, anu the meuia. Wheie
necessaiy, texts will be paitially iepiouuceu. These souices will be acauemically analyzeu
foi theii legal content anu the ways in which this content mouifies oi cieates obligations by
which states may become bounu. A laige numbei of expeit acauemic analyses will be
iefeienceu in assessing this legal effect anu impoitance. Bue to the natuie of a iight to
watei as a "new" human iights entitlement, it is possible to consiuei all ielevant legal


S9
The foui tiauitional souices aie taken fiom Aiticle S8 of the Statute of the Inteinational Couit of Iustice, S9 Stat. 1uS1
("a. inteinational conventions, whethei geneial oi paiticulai, establishing iules expiessly iecognizeu by the contesting
states: b. inteinational custom, as eviuence of a geneial piactice accepteu as law: c. the geneial piinciples of law
iecognizeu by civilizeu nations: u. subject to the piovisions of Aiticle S9, juuicial uecisions anu the teachings of the most
highly qualifieu publicists of the vaiious nations, as subsiuiaiy means foi the ueteimination of iules of law.").
11
souices peitaining to the iight. This makes an objective anu well-founueu legal justification
foi the iight - incluuing a ueteimination of the iight's scope anu content - possible heie.
Section III will intiouuce the concept of a "minimum coie" foi socio-economic iights
geneially anu explain the content of such a coie foi watei. Nuch of this section's legal
analysis will be baseu on a synthesis of ueneial Comments S anu 1S - authoiitative
summaiies of state obligations unuei the ICESCR. As in Section II, this basic fiamewoik will
be flesheu out with iefeience to the cuiient legal unueistanuing of the "minimum coie,"
incluuing tieaty law, custom, geneial piinciple anu expeit inteipietation. Recent scholaily
tieatment of the minimum coie will help oiient the concept within the iight to watei,
intiouucing both its puipose anu limitations. Technical iepoits on watei quantity anu
quality will also be consiueieu, as these may give us a bettei iuea of what a minimum coie
foi watei iights might mean in piactice.
Finally, Section Iv will ieview national case law foi its iecent tieatment of the
human iight to watei anu the minimum coie concept. The woik of Section Iv is both
Jescriptive - faithfully iecieating the legal stanuaius uevelopeu in national juiispiuuence -
anu evoluotive - compaiing these legal stanuaius to one anothei anu to the inteinational
noim outlineu in sections II anu III. Thiough uiiect iefeience, uesciiptive explanation oi
footnote, Section Iv consiueis neaily eveiy iecent, notable watei iights juugment.
The analysis in Section Iv is laigely baseu on a theoietical fiamewoik of
inteinational noim cieation anu tiansmission, which seeks to unueistanu the ways in
which inteinational noims finu effective piotection thiough theii national enfoicement,
even when not uiiectly tiansfeiiable. The ieseaich involveu is qualitative, as both the
ielative paucity of watei iights juiispiuuence anu the uiveisity of legal factois
uiffeientiating national systems limits effective uata mining. It is not the goal of this essay,
howevei, to exhaustively outline the way national couits have tieateu these concepts in
iecent yeais. To uo so woulu iequiie an analysis capable of appiehenuing the motivations
of each couit in question, the placement of each couit within its national legal oiuei, the
symphony of law, inteinational commitments anu political piessuies exeiting influence on
the couit's woik, not to mention the vast amount of sepaiate but ielateu case law which
may have an impact. Although none of these factois is ignoieu by the piesent essay,
exhaustive consiueiation of these questions is bettei left to scholais analyzing the
12
tieatment of watei iights by theii national juuiciaiies in porticulor. At most, Section Iv is
iestiicteu to consiueiing questions of national enfoicement in a much moie limiteu way,
uiawing a few uesciiptive suggestions foi fuithei evaluation anu ieseaich.
Section Iv will begin with a theoietical oveiview of noim tiansmission fiom
inteinational law to national couitiooms. This analysis will uiaw heavily fiom human
iights theoiy. Right-to-watei case law fiom seveial juiisuictions will then be analyzeu foi
the way in which it suppoits oi challenges the inteinational legal noims suiiounuing watei
iights. Nany of these cases will be uiawn fiom litigation guiues piepaieu by legal aiu Nu0s,
compaiative law analyses, anu the inteinational meuia. Because litigation guiues aie often
limiteu in uetail oi lack the most cuiient juiispiuuence, couit iepoiteis anu electionic
uatabases will also be consulteu. Case law will be analyzeu with the help of seconuaiy
souices incluuing law ieviews anu case biiefs. In seveial places, the oiiginal litigatois will
be askeu to contiibute by biief oi suppoiting uocumentation. 0thei socio-economic case
law will be consiueieu wheie necessaiy to establish context.
In the enu, it seems that the iight to watei anu its minimum coie may piove
especially useful in moving human inteiest fiom the peiipheiy of iesouice management
back to its centei. The success of this goal, howevei, hinges to a gieat extent on the
piactical univeisality of the noim in question. Foi the human iight to watei to exist as a
legal fact, a Pakistani mothei must be guaianteeu the same stanuaiu of piotection as a slum
uwellei in Iohannesbuig. We must know if national couits have been willing to auopt the
full uefinition foi watei iights, incluuing the minimum coie, in theii juiispiuuence. When
they have uone so, we must ask if theii use of the concept has iepiouuceu oi uistoiteu the
inteinational stanuaiu.

!../*56#*73&('*+%860*01*9(0#"*%'*.'0#"'(0%1'($*:(;<*=13"4#*('2*>1'0#'0

To concisely uefine the inteinational human iight to watei can be somewhat
pioblematic.
4u
This is uue to its omission fiom the majoi iights-piotecting covenants of the


4u
It shoulu be noteu befoie pioceeuing that this papei uses the teim "watei iights," "iight to watei" anu "human iight
to watei" inteichangeably. The use of these phiases to signify a human iight to safe, sufficient uiinking watei is
suppoiteu by theii use in scholaily publications, ueneial Assembly iesolutions anu CESCR ueneial Comments. See. e.q..
1S
last half-centuiy. In fact, an investigation of tieaty law ieveals that "|t]heie aie no.
instiuments that guaiantee accessible, goou quality watei in auequate supply as a
funuamental human iight."
41
Non-couification, howevei, uoes not imply that such a iight
uoes not exist, noi that it is unacknowleugeu oi unpiotecteu by inteinational law in some
othei way.
42
0n the contiaiy, an investigation of the ielevant souices of inteinational law -
both tieaty anu custom - ieveal that a iight to watei Joes in fact exist in positive law, anu
that both its noimative content anu ielateu obligations can be outlineu inuepenuently of
othei iights. This is the woik of this section. The iight to watei is outlineu below thiough
the tiauitional activity of legal constiuction: the iight's intellectual oiigin in inteinational
ielations, as well as its legal basis, scope anu obligations aie compiehensively tieateu.
As noteu in the intiouuction, iecent uecaues have seen the stiuggle of the oppiesseu
oi neglecteu iefoimulateu as human iights issues.
4S
The stiuggle foi iights piotection
begins with the uispossesseu iefiaming theii claims as baseu in "iights entitlements."
Buman iights claims aie not likely to be maue if societies can solve new pioblems on theii
own. As Petei Bonnelly suggests, "one neeus human iights piincipally when they aie not
effectively guaianteeu by law anu piactice."
44
Foi new iights, such as the iight to watei,
this involves the cieation of a legal iuentity foi a claim baseu in a sociological ieality. The
suppoit foi such an enueavoi comes fiom the "funuamentality" of the claim at the coie of
the iight. Buman iights claims iest on what is consiueieu essential foi a life in human
uignity. In the woius of the 0niveisal Beclaiation of Buman Rights (0BBR), "the
iecognition of the inheient uignity anu of the equal anu inalienable iights of all membeis of

The Right to Bevelopment, u.A. Res. S4¡17S, 0.N. Boc. A¡RES¡S4¡17S (Bec. 17, 1999), anu uC1S, supro note SS. These
teims shoulu be uistinguisheu fiom the tiauitional civil law uefinition of watei iights - those state-gianteu iights foi the
use of iesouices to meet social neeus. Wheie a uistinction neeus to be maue between human iights anu iesouice iights,
this papei will use the teim "civil watei iights" to uesciibe the lattei.

41
The World Conservation Union, Water Law Series Issue 9: Human Rights and Water 1 (2uu8), ovoiloble ot:
http:¡¡cmsuata.iucn.oig¡uownloaus¡fs9.puf. *

42
Nany authois aigue that the nest logical step in the enfoicement of watei iights is theii couification in an
inuepenuent inteinational convention, howevei this asseition falls outsiue of the scope if this essay. See. e.q.. Bluemel,
supro note S, at 97S ("The iecognition of a singulai iight which coulu satisfy the entiiety of States' obligations unuei
inteinational law shoulu pioviue gieatei claiity anu consistency in inteipietation, leauing to gieatei State compliance anu
cleaiei complainant iights to iemeuies."). See olso Petei B. uleick, Tbe Eumon Riqbt to Woter. 1(S) Water Policy 487
(1999) |heieinaftei uleick, Riqbt to Woter]: Nauue Bailow, A 0N Convention on tbe Riqbt to Woter: An lJeo Wbose Time
Eos Come. Blue Planet (2uu6), http:¡¡www.blueplanetpioject.net¡uocuments¡0N_convention_NB_Becu6.puf.

4S
Bob Clifford, Iiqbtinq for New Riqbts, in The International Struggle for New Human Rights 1, 1 (2uu9).

44
Jack Donnelly, International Human Rights 22( Siu eu. 2uu7).

14
the human family is the founuation of fieeuom, justice anu peace in the woilu."
4S
Watei's
funuamentality to human uignity is inuisputable, anu an inteinational consensus has giown
to ieflect this fact.

A. Tbe Bevelopment of on lnternotionol Consensus

Nelson posits that two complementaiy factois enableu the claim of a human iight to
watei: (a) a "ieceptive inteinational enviionment" anu (b) a set of exteinal thieats.
46
The
thieat to human uevelopment poseu by watei scaicity was outlineu by the intiouuction.
The ieceptiveness of the inteinational community to watei iights is uemonstiateu by its
piogiessive embiace of such iights ovei the past Su yeais. National anu inteinational
political agenuas began to ieflect giowing concein foi watei issues in the miu-197us.
47
By
the eaily 2uuus, the inteinational focus on watei began to shift fiom management,
technology anu economics to a moie iights-baseu appioach.
48
Touay, iecent polls suggest
that the global fieshwatei ciisis is the woilu's most piessing enviionmental pioblem, anu
inteinational ueclaiations have begun utilizing iights-baseu language as they shift to ieflect
this giowing consensus.
49

Seveial types of inteinational uocumentation eithei explicitly oi implicitly suppoit a
iight to watei. The outline of the iesouices gioupeu below is as follows: souices of binuing
tieaty law aie investigateu fiist. Tieaties enshiine commitments that states paities aie


4S
0niveisal Beclaiation of Buman Rights, u.A. Res. 217 (III) A, 0.N. Boc. A¡RES¡217(III) (Bec. 1u, 1948)
|heieinaftei 0BBR].

46
Paul I. Nelson, locol Cloims. lnternotionol StonJorJs onJ tbe Eumon Riqbt to Woter. in The International Struggle
for New Human Rights 1Su, 1SS (Bob Cliffoiu eu., 2uu9).*

47
See Asit K. Biswas, Woter os o Eumon Riqbt in tbe HFNA Reqion: Cbollenqes onJ 0pportunities. 2S(2) Int’l J. Water
Res. Dev 2u9, 211 (2uu7) |heieinaftei Biswas HFNA]: Asit Biswas & Cecilia Toitajaua, Cbonqinq 6lobol Woter
Honoqement lonJscope. in Water Management in 2020 and Beyond 1, 1u (A.K. Biswas et al. eus., 2uu6).

48
0ntil ielease of the 2uu6 Buman Bevelopment Repoit, supro note 6, a lack of watei access was thought to mean a lack
of iesouices oi technical capacity. See Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions [COHRE], Human Rights and
Access to Water and Sanitation: Acting on the Report of the OHCHR 2 (2uu7), ovoiloble ot
http:¡¡www.iighttowatei.info¡pufs¡2uu7BRCweb.puf |heieinaftei COHREa]. See olso Bluemel, supro note S at 96S:
Biett Walton, Zofor AJeel: A Conversotion Witb tbe New Cboir of 0N-Woter. Circle of Blue (Nai. 2S, 2u1u),
http:¡¡www.ciicleofblue.oig¡wateinews¡2u1u¡woilu¡zafai-aueel-a-conveisation-with-the-new-chaii-of-un-
watei¡#moie-1S747 ("I think histoiically what we have uone is stay focuseu specifically on watei issues, watei quality,
on monitoiing anu uoing ieseaich, but to ielate it to people's lives anu to ielate it to policies is something we have not
uone veiy well befoie.").

49
Keith Schneiuei, Nauya Ivanova & Aaion Iaffe, Woter Tops Climote Cbonqe os 6lobol Prioritv, Circle of Blue (Aug.
18, 2uu9), http:¡¡www.ciicleofblue.oig¡wateinews¡2uu9¡woilu¡wateiviews-watei-tops-climate-change-as-global-
piioiity¡ (full suivey iesults aie ovoiloble ot: http:¡¡www.ciicleofblue.oig¡wateinews¡wp-
content¡uploaus¡2uu9¡u8¡ciicle_of_blue_globescan.puf).
1S
bounu by law to fulfill. They aie, theiefoie, the most impoitant souices in any investigation
of inteinational law. Souices of non-binuing law uevelopeu both within anu outsiue of the
0.N. system aie then ievieweu chionologically, uemonstiating the uevelopment of the teim
"iight to watei." These inteinational ueclaiations anu iesolutions enshiine the political
commitments of states within the inteinational community. Although they aie foimally
non-binuing, they can be useu as inteipietative guiues with iespect to states' tieaty
obligations.
Su
Finally, inteinational customaiy law is consiueieu. Theie aie seveial othei
legal souices ielevant to the giowth of watei iights that foi ieasons of claiity anu bievity
will not be auuiesseu heie. These incluue iegional human iights tieaties, ueclaiations moie
geneially ielating to sustainable uevelopment anu clean enviionment, anu the concluuing
obseivations of the CESCR.
S1

Seveial inteinational tieaties - the most uefinitive souices of inteinational law -
explicitly iefeience uuties ielateu to watei iights. Theii uefinitions, howevei, fall shoit of
piotecting watei iesouice auequacy, quality oi accessibility. Aiticle 14 of the Convention
foi the Elimination of Bisciimination Against Women (CEBAW), in piotecting iuial women
fiom uisciimination, iequiies that states paities piotect the iight "to enjoy auequate living
conuitions, paiticulaily in ielation to. watei supply."
S2
The Convention on the Rights of
the Chilu (CRC), which came into foice nine yeais latei, piotects the "highest attainable
stanuaiu of health" foi chiluien incluuing (inter olio) clean, auequate uiinking watei.
SS
The
0.N. Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational 0ses of Inteinational Watei Couises,
S4

though not in effect, asseits the piioiity of "vital human neeus" when states aie at ouus
ovei inteinational watei iesouices.
SS
Finally, the Convention on the Rights of Peisons with


Su
Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions [COHRE], Legal Resources for the Right to Water and
Sanitation: International and National Standards (2nu eu., foithcoming) (manusciipt at 41) (uiaft on file with the
authoi) |heieinaftei COHRE(c)].

S1
Foi a uiscussion of these souices see geneially COHRE(c). supro. note Su anu Patiicia Wouteis, 0niversol onJ
Reqionol Approocbes to Resolvinq lnternotionol Bisputes: Wbot lessons leorneJ from Stote Proctice? in Resolution of
International Water Disputes 111 (Inteinational Buieau, Peimanent Couit of Aibitiation eu., 2uuS). Seveial
Concluuing 0bseivations aie incluueu in Section Iv as backgiounu infoimation foi the inuiviuual states suiveyeu.*

S2
Convention on the Elimination of All Foims of Bisciimination against Women, Ait.14, ¶ 2, Bec. 18, 1979, 1249 0.N.T.S.
1S.

SS
Convention on the Rights of the Chilu, Ait. 24¶2, Nov. 2u, 1989, 1S77 0.N.T.S. S.

S4
The bouy of law goveining inteinational wateicouises may seem the fiist logical place to look foi watei iights.
ueneially, howevei, law is insufficiently uevelopeu theie to piotect a iight to inuiviuual access. See Bourquain, supro
note S, Su-S4: Kiefei & Biolmann, supro note 7, at 18S. *

SS
Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational 0ses of Inteinational Wateicouises, Ait.1u.2, u. A. ies. S1¡229,
Annex, 0.N. uA0R, S1st Sess., 99th mtg., 0N Boc. A¡RES¡S1¡229 (openeJ for siqnoture Nay 21, 1997), S6 I.L.N. 7uu. This
convention is not in foice.
16
Bisabilities outlines "the iight of peisons with uisabilities to social piotection . . . incluuing
measuies to ensuie equal access by peisons with uisabilities to clean watei."
S6

Inteinational conflict, humanitaiian anu ciiminal law also uemonstiate some
consensus on watei iights by establishing ielateu state obligations. The ueneva
Conventions - almost univeisally iatifieu - ensuie that both piisoneis of wai anu civilians
aie guaianteeu watei foi consumption anu sanitation as pait of an auequate stanuaiu of
living foi health anu wellbeing.
S7
Auuitional Piotocol I (1977), though less-wiuely iatifieu,
obliges paities not to attack oi uestioy "objects inuispensible to the suivival of the civilian
population . . . |incluuing] uiinking watei supplies."
S8

S9
The Stanuaiu Ninimum Rules foi
the Tieatment of Piisoneis (19SS) anu the latei 0niteu Nations Rules foi the Piotection of
Iuveniles Bepiiveu of theii Libeity (199u), both ensuie that "|u]iinking watei shall be
available to eveiy piisonei whenevei he neeus it."
6u

Since the 197us, the iight to watei as an inuepenuent human iights entitlement has
founu incieaseu suppoit in inteinational ueclaiations, iesolutions anu agieements. Though
non-binuing, these ueclaiations seive as eviuence of state piactice anu can inuicate a
state's own unueistanuing of its legal obligations. The vancouvei Beclaiation fiom the 0.N.
Confeience on Buman Settlement (1976) helu watei to be a basic human neeu, uiiecting
some of its iecommenuations foi ueveloping countiies towaiu the piotection of watei
supplies fiom pollution anu the auoption of policies with "ieasonable stanuaius foi quality
anu quantity."
61
The Nai uel Plata Action Plan fiom the 0.N. Confeience on Watei (1977) is
one of the most oft-citeu ueclaiations, as it explicitly insists that all peoples "have the iight


S6
Inteinational Convention on the Piotection anu Piomotion of the Rights anu Bignity of Peisons with Bisabilities, Ait.
28, u.A. Res. 61¡1u6, Annex I, 0.N. uA0R, 61st Sess., Supp. No. 49, at 6S, 0.N. Boc. A¡61¡49 (Bec. 1S, 2uu6), 46 I.L.N. 44S.

S7
ueneva Convention Relative to the Tieatment of Piisoneis of Wai, Ait. 26, 29, Aug. 12, 1949, 6 0.S.T. SS16, 7S 0.N.T.S.
1SS: ueneva Convention Relative to the Piotection of Civilian Peisons in Time of Wai, Ait. 8S. 89, 127, Aug. 12, 1949, 6
0.S.T. SS16, 7S 0.N.T.S. 287 |heieinaftei Thiiu ueneva Convention].

S8
Piotocol Auuitional to the ueneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, anu Relating to the Piotection of victims of
Inteinational Aimeu Conflicts), Ait. S4, Iune 8, 1977, 112S 0.N.T.S. S.

S9
Foi a iecent analysis of the ielationship between conflict law anu human iights, incluuing the iight to watei, see Ian
Scobbie Principle or Proqmotics? Tbe Relotionsbip between Eumon Riqbts low onJ tbe low of ArmeJ Conflict. 14(S) J.
Conflict & Security L. 449 (2uu9).

6u
0. N. Rules foi the Piotection of Iuveniles Bepiiveu of theii Libeity, u.A. Res. 4S¡11S, 0.N. Boc. A¡RES¡4S¡11S (Bec.
14, 199u) ("Clean uiinking watei shoulu be available to eveiy juvenile at any time."): Fiist 0niteu Nations Congiess on the
Pievention of Ciime anu the Tieatment of 0ffenueis, Aug. 22 - Sep. S, 19SS, StonJorJ Hinimum Rules for tbe Treotment of
Prisoners, 0.N. Boc. A¡C0NF¡611, Annex I, 2u(2) ovoiloble ot http:¡¡www1.umn.euu¡humanits¡instiee¡g1smi.htm.*

61
0niteu Nations Confeience on Buman Settlement, vancouvei, Can. Nay S1 - Iune 11, 1976, voncouver Beclorotion on
Eumon Settlements, 0N. Boc. A¡C0NF.7u¡1S, at ¶ 8, ¶ 6, ovoiloble ot http:¡¡www.un-uocuments.net¡van-uec.htm.
17
to have access to uiinking watei in quantities anu of a quality equal to theii basic neeu."
62

Aftei this ueclaiation, the asseition of watei iights became commonplace in uevelopment-
ielateu agieements. The Bublin Statement on Watei anu Sustainable Bevelopment (1992)
states that theie exists a "basic iight of all human beings to have access to clean watei. at
an affoiuable piice."
6S
Agenua 21 fiom the 0.N. Confeience on Enviionment anu
Bevelopment in Rio ue Ianeiio (1992) acknowleuges a "iight to watei" in line with the Nai
uel Plata plan.
64
In 1994, the Piogiamme of Action of the Inteinational Confeience on
Population anu Bevelopment incluueu watei among those elements of "the iight to an
auequate stanuaiu of living."
6S
Finally, the iight to watei has founu suppoit in foui iecent
uevelopment confeiences: The Afiica-South Ameiica Summit in 2uu6 (The Abuja
Beclaiation),
66
the 1
st
Asia Pacific Watei Summit in 2uu7 (Nessage fiom Beppu),
67
the S
iu

South Asian Confeience on Sanitation in 2uu8 (Belhi Beclaiation),
68
anu the Xv Summit of
Beaus of State anu uoveinment of the Non-Aligneu Novement in 2uu9 (Final Bocument).
69

The watei iights concept uevelopeu in these ueclaiations was fiist auopteu by the
0.N. system in 2uuu with a ueneial Assembly iesolution on the Right to Bevelopment. That
iesolution acknowleuges that "iights to foou anu clean watei aie funuamental human
iights, anu theii piomotion constitutes a moial impeiative both foi national uoveinments
anu foi the inteinational community."
7u
Non-binuing ueneial Assembly iesolutions aie


62
0. N. Watei Confeience |0.N.W.C.], Nai uel Plata, Aig., Nai. 14-2S, 1977, Rep. of tbe 0. N. Woter Conference, 0.N. Boc.
E¡C0NF.7u¡29, 0.N. Sales No. E.77.11.A.12 (Nai. 2S, 1977). *

6S
Bublin Stotement, supro note 1S.

64
0. N. Confeience on Env't. & Bev., Rio ue Ianieio, Biaz., Iune S-14, 1992, AqenJo 21, ch. 18.47, 0.N. Boc.
A¡C0NF.1S1¡26¡REv.1 (vol. II) (Iune 14, 1992), ovoiloble ot http:¡¡www.un.oig¡esa¡usu¡agenua21¡.

6S
0niteu Nations Inteinational Confeience on Population anu Bevelopment, Caiio, Egypt, Sep. S-1S, 1994, Proqromme
of Action of tbe lnternotionol Conference on Populotion onJ Bevelopment, ch 2, piinc. 2, 0.N. Boc. A¡C0NF.171¡1S (Sep. 18,
1994). ovoiloble ot http:¡¡www.iisu.ca¡Caiio¡piogiam¡puuuuu.html.

66
Fiist Afiica-South Ameiica Summit, Abuja, Nigeiia, Nov. 26-Su, 2uu6, Abuio Beclorotion, ovoiloble ot
http:¡¡www.eaclj.oig¡inuex.php.option=com_phocauownloau&view=categoiy&iu=1&Itemiu=21#.

67
Fiist Asia-Pacific Watei Summit, Beppu, Iapan,Bec. S-4, 2uu7, Hessoqe from Beppu, ¶2, ovoiloble ot
http:¡¡www.apwf.oig¡aichive¡uocuments¡summit¡Nessage_fiom_Beppu_u8u1Su.puf
people's iight to safe uinking watei. as a basic human iight").

68
Thiiu South Asian Confeience on Sanitation, New Belhi, Inuia, Nov. 16-21, 2uu8, Tbe Belbi Beclorotion, ovoiloble ot
http:¡¡uuws.nic.in¡infosacosan¡ppt¡Belhi%2uBeclaiation%2u7.puf. ("access to safe uiinking watei constitutes a basic
human iight.")

69
Xv Summit of Beaus of State anu uoveinment of the Non-Aligneu Novement, Shaim el Sheik, Egypt, Iuly 11-16, 2uu9,
Iinol Bocument. ¶S91-S9S, NAN2uu9¡FB¡Boc.1, ovoiloble ot
http:¡¡www.namegypt.oig¡en¡RelevantBocuments¡Pages¡uefault.aspx (via "final uocument" hypeilink) (stiessing "the
neeu to assist ueveloping countiies in theii effoits to . . . pioviue access to safe uiinking watei anu basic sanitation" while
iecalling the acknowleugement of a iight to watei in uC1S).

7u
The Right to Bevelopment, supro note 4u, at ¶12(a). uA iesolutions guiue the woik of othei 0N offices anu agencies.
Theie aie cuiiently 26 0N offices woiking on the management of global fieshwatei.
18
similai to inteinational ueclaiations as they inuicate a state's evolving unueistanuing of its
inteinational legal obligations. Resolutions also pioviue a conceptual fiamewoik foi the
activities of othei 0.N. offices anu agencies. Foi this ieason, the watei iights concept has
enjoyeu vaiious foims of suppoit fiom 0.N. oigans anu agencies in the last uecaue.
Aftei the 2uuu ueneial Assembly iesolution, watei iights language was quickly
auopteu by uocuments like the Nillennium Bevelopment uoals anu ueneial Comment 1S of
the Committee on Economic, Social anu Cultuial Rights.
71
The Commission on Buman
Rights followeu suit in 2uuS with a iesolution on the uumping of toxic wastes,
acknowleuging "iights to watei" in thiee places.
72
The 0.N. Sub-Commission on the
Piomotion anu Piotection of Buman Rights ieleaseu "uuiuelines foi the Realization of the
Right to Biinking Watei anu Sanitation" the same yeai, suppoiting anu claiifying the
conclusions of othei bouies, most notably the CESCR.
7S
In 2uu7, the 0.N. Bigh
Commissionei foi Buman Rights issueu a iepoit "0n the Scope anu Content of the Relevant
Buman Rights 0bligations Relateu to Safe Biinking Watei anu Sanitation unuei
Inteinational Buman Rights Instiuments," notably concluuing that, "it is now time to
consiuei access to safe uiinking watei. as a human iight."
74
In 2uu8, the Buman Rights
Council (BRC) - the main bouy with human iights competency in the 0.N. system -
somewhat belateuly appointeu an Inuepenuent Expeit on the iights to watei anu sanitation


71
The Nillennium Beclaiation, u.A. Res. SS¡2, 0.N. Boc. A¡RES¡SS¡2 (Sep. 8, 2uuu). While the Nillennium Bevelopment
uoals |NBus] auopt some human iights language anu iueas, theii implementation has been ciiticizeu foi not integiating a
human iights calculus. In August of 2u1u the Inuepenuent Expeit on the Right to Watei anu Sanitation tiansmitteu a
iepoit to the 0N ueneial Assembly claiifying the way in which watei iights ielate to the NuBs. In hei iepoit, she
uesciibeu the two as "consistent anu mutually ieinfoicing," while iegietting the piactical lack of "constiuctive syneigy."
Inuep. Expeit on the Issue of Buman Rights 0bligations Relateu to Access to Safe Biinking Watei anu Sanitation, Tbe
H6Bs onJ tbe Riqbt to Woter onJ Sonitotion. ueneial Assembly, 0.N. Boc. A¡6S¡2S4, ¶62 (Aug. 6, 2u1u) (by Cataiina ue
Albuqueique), ovoiloble ot http:¡¡www2.ohchi.oig¡english¡issues¡watei¡iexpeit¡annual.htm (via hypeilink with the
title of the uocument). See qenerollv uC1S, supro note SS.

72
Buman Rights Commission Res. 2uuS¡1S, Auveise Effects of the Illicit Noving anu Bumping of Toxic anu Bangeious
Piouucts anu Wastes on the Enjoyment of Buman Rights, 61st Sess., Nai. 14 - Api. 22, 2uuS, 0.N. ESC0R, 2uuS, Supp. No.
S, E¡2uuS¡2S, at S6 (Api. 14, 2uuS).

7S
See 0. N. Sub-Comm'n on the Piomotion anu Piotection of Buman Rights Res. 2uu6¡1u, Piomotion of the Realization
of the Right to Biinking Watei anu Sanitation, S8th Sess., Aug. 7-2S, 2uu6, 0.N. Boc. A¡BRC¡2¡2-A¡BRC¡Sub.1¡S8¡S6, at
S9 (Aug. 24, 2uu6). oJoptinq Special Rappoiteui on the Enjoyment of Econ., Social anu Cultuial Rights anu the Right to
Biinking Watei Supply anu Sanitation, Broft 6uiJelines for tbe Reolizotion of tbe Riqbt to Brinkinq Woter onJ Sonitotion,
0.N. Sub-comm'n on the Piomotion anu Piotection of Buman Rights, 0.N. Boc. E¡CN.4¡Sub.2¡2uuS¡2S (Iuly 11, 2uuS) (by
Bauji uuissé) |heieinaftei Broft 6uiJelines]. Foi an explanation of the uocument's histoiy anu intent, see COHRE(c), supro
note Su, at 244-2Su.

74
0. N. Bigh Comm'i foi Buman Rights, Rep. of tbe 0. N. Eiqb Comm´r for Eumon Riqbts on tbe Scope onJ Content of tbe
Relevont Eumon Riqbts 0bliqotions ReloteJ to Fquitoble Access to Sofe Brinkinq Woter onJ Sonitotion unJer lnt´l Eumon
Riqbts lnstruments, Buman Rights Council, 0.N. Boc. A¡BRC¡6¡S (Aug. 1S, 2uu7) (by Louise Aiboi), ovoiloble ot
http:¡¡www.ohchi.oig¡english¡issues¡watei¡ inuex.htm.
19
to ".fuithei |claiify] the content of human iights obligations. in ielation to access to safe
uiinking watei anu sanitation."
7S
This appointment began what is infoimally iefeiieu to as
the "ueneva Piocess," an ongoing collaboiation between the Inuepenuent Expeit anu the
BRC (in ueneva) to ueteimine the legal status of the iights to watei anu sanitation. Recent
months have seen an abunuance of inteinational suppoit foi a human iight to watei fiom
both within anu without the ueneva Piocess.
In Iuly of 2u1u the ueneial Assembly passeu a iesolution foimally iecognizing a
human iight to watei anu sanitation.
76
Resolution 64¡292, which passeu without uissent,
cites many of the tieaties anu ueclaiations noteu above, as well as the stanuaius uevelopeu
by the CESCR in ueneial Comment 1S.
77
The iesolution, which uoes not cleaily uefine the
scope oi content of the iight, was aigueu by some to be a uangeious uistiaction fiom the
ueneva Piocess, thieatening to pieempt its finuings with an asseition of iights not baseu in
inteinational law. 0theis vieweu the iesolution as a helpful auuition to the ueneva Piocess
uespite its vague language.
78
The Inuepenuent Expeit heiself uesciibeu 64¡292 as a
"bieakthiough."
79

The following Septembei, the BRC ieasseiteu its contiol of the watei iights agenua
by auopting its own iesolution on the iight to watei anu sanitation.
8u
Recognizing the
ueneial Assembly iesolution of Iuly 28th, the BRC uocument establishes a moie
compiehensive legal basis foi the iight, exhaustively uefining its majoi souices in


7S
Buman Rights Council Res. 7¡22, Buman Rights anu Access to Safe Biinking Watei anu Sanitation, 7
th
Sess., Nai. S-28,
2uu8, 0.N. uA0R, 6Su Sess., Supp. No. SS, A¡6S¡SS, at 1S4 (Nai. 28, 2uu8). The woik of the Inuepenuent Expeit, Cataiina
u'Albuqueique, is ongoing. Foi a pieliminaiy iepoit of hei piogiess along with a summaiy of hei manuate see Inuep.
Expeit on the Issue of Buman Rights 0bligations Relateu to Access to Safe Biinking Watei anu Sanitation, Promotion onJ
Protection of oll Eumon Riqbts. Civil. Politicol. Fconomic. Sociol onJ Culturol Riqbts. lncluJinq tbe Riqbt to Bevelopment.
Buman Rights Council, 0.N. Boc. A¡BRC¡1u¡6 (Feb. 2S, 2uu9) (by Cataiina ue Albuqueique).

76
The Buman Right to Watei anu Sanitation, u.A. Res. 64¡292, 0.N. Boc. A¡RES¡64¡292 (Iuly 28, 2u1u). *

77
lJ. at ¶8.

78
Nany of the 41 states abstaining fiom the vote - incluuing the 0.S., 0.K. anu Tuikey - justifieu theii choice as
uefeience to the ueneva Piocess. The 0.S. went so fai as to say that the Resolution uesciibeu a iight to watei anu
sanitation he believeu not to exist in inteinational law. 0theis, incluuing ueimany, believeu the vote to be a pait of the
ueneva Piocess uespite any impeifection oi vagueness in its language. See Piess Release, ueneial Assembly, ueneial
Assembly Auopts Resolution Recognizing Access to Clean Watei, Sanitation as a Buman Right, by Recoiueu vote of 122 in
Favoi, None Against, 41 Abstentions: Belegates also Confiim Nominee to Beau 0ffice of Inteinal 0veisight Seivices, Elect
Belaius to 0NEP uoveining Council, 0.N. Piess Release uA¡1u967 (Iuly 28, 2u1u).

79
See 0N Fxpert Welcomes Recoqnition os o Eumon Riqbt of Access to Sofe onJ Cleon Brinkinq Woter onJ Sonitotion.
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (Iuly Su, 2u1u),
http:¡¡www.ohchi.oig¡EN¡NewsEvents¡Pages¡BisplayNews.aspx.NewsIB=1u24u&LangIB=E.

8u
Buman Rights Council, Buman Rights anu Access to Safe Biinking Watei anu Sanitation, 0.N. Boc. A¡BRC¡1S¡L.14
(Sep. 24, 2u1u), at http:¡¡uaccess-ous.un.oig¡TNP¡9S64Su.1711S2u88.html.
2u
inteinational law.
81
Resolution SS¡L.14 concluues that "|t]he Buman Right to safe uiinking
watei anu sanitation is ueiiveu fiom the iight to an auequate stanuaiu of living anu
inextiicably ielateu to the iight to the highest attainable stanuaiu of physical anu mental
health, as well as the iight to life anu human uignity."
82
The BRC iesolution maiks the fiist
time that the Council has ueclaieu itself foimally on the issue of a iight to watei.
At the national level watei iights aie piotecteu by 17 constitutions, the most iecent
of which (Congo) explicitly iecognizes "the iight of access to watei" as "guaianteeu."
8S
The
iight to watei has also enjoyeu iecent iecognition in the woik of iegional, intei-
goveinmental oiganizations incluuing the Council of Euiope
84
anu Afiican 0nion,
8S

statements by national executives suppoiting inteinational iecognition of watei iights,
86

anu the official policies of uiveise non-state actois.
87

This incieasing acknowleugement of an inteinational human iight to watei means
that even befoie the auoption of the 2u1u ueneial Assembly iesolution, eveiy membei-
state of the 0.N. hau acknowleugeu the iight to watei at least once - whethei by national
legislation, inuepenuent ueclaiation, tieaty signatuie oi membeiship in a suppoitive


81
lJ. at ¶2.

82
lJ. at ¶S. The BRC's conclusion seems to establish a hieiaichy of legal souices foi the iight to watei that will be
investigateu moie thoioughly below.

8S
Constitution de la République Démocratique du Congo Feb. 18, 2uu6. *
ait. 48, 18 ('Le uioit à un logement uécent, le uioit u'acces à l'eau potable et à l'éneigie électiique sont gaiantis.')

84
See. e.q.. PACF PresiJent Colls for Access to Woter to be RecoqnizeJ os o Bosic Eumon Riqbt Council of Europe (Nai.
2u, 2uu9), https:¡¡wcu.coe.int¡viewBoc.jsp.iu=_422SSS&Site=BC.

8S
See. e.q.. 0iganization of Afiican 0nity, Afiican Chaitei on the Rights anu Welfaie of the Chilu, ait. 14(2)(c), Iuly 11,
199u, 0A0 Boc. CAB¡LEu¡24.9¡49. The iight to watei has also founu some suppoit in the juuicial woik of the Afiican
Commission. In its 4S
th
0iuinaiy Session of 2uu9, the Commission piotecteu access to safe anu potable watei with explicit
iefeience to the stanuaius of availability, accessibility, acceptability anu quality set by the CESCR in ueneial Comment 14
on the Right to Bealth. This iecent uecision also linkeu watei iights to Aiticles 4 anu 22 of the Chaitei.
See Centie on Bousing Rights anu Evictions v. Suuan, Afi. Comm'n Bum. & Peoples' Rts. (C0ERF v. SuJon), Comm. No. 296-
uS (Iuly 29, 2u1u): Fiee Legal Assistance uioup v. Zaiie, Afi. Comm'n Bum. & Peoples' Rts., Comm. No. 2S¡89, 47¡9u,
S6¡91 & 1uu¡9S (0ct., 199S). See qenerollv CESCR, ueneial Comment 14: The Right to the Bighest Attainable Stanuaiu of
Beath, 0.N. Boc. E¡C.12¡2uuu¡4 (Aug. 11, 2uuu), at http:¡¡www.unhchi.ch¡tbs¡uoc.nsf¡(symbol)¡E.C.12.2uuu.4.En.

86
In 2u1u, Peiu passeu a new law iecognizing the iight to watei as a human iight anu ensuiing that iesouices cannot
be bought anu useu as piivate piopeity. See Peru: Conqress Approves Woter low. International Water and Sanitation
Centre (Api. S, 2uu9), http:¡¡www.iic.nl¡page¡476S2. Bolivia anu ueimany also maue ueclaiations this yeai
iecognizing the iight. See Bolivio Pusbes for o 0niversol Woter Riqbt, New Tang Dynasty Television Online (Nai. 2S,
2u1u), http:¡¡english.ntutv.com¡ntutv_en¡ns_sa¡2u1u-uS-2S¡Su626S2S1214.html:
6ermonv for Cleon Brinkinq Woter os o Bosic Eumon Riqbt. German Information Centre New Delhi (Nai. 2S, 2u1u),
http:¡¡geiman-info.com¡piess_shownews.php.piu=2S74.

87
See. e.q.. lntel Woter Policv, Intel Corporation (Nai. 2u1u),
http:¡¡www.intel.com¡Assets¡PBF¡Policy¡Intel_Watei_Policy.puf (auopting the uefinition piomulgateu by the 0N
System: "people's iight to safe, sufficient, acceptable, physically accessible anu affoiuable watei foi peisonal anu uomestic
use"). ueneially, howevei, piivate inteiests have expiesseu concein foi the couification of watei iights, woiiieu that they
will iestiict piivatization anu sometimes, the achievement of the full piovision of clean watei. See. e.q.. Anotber BoJ lJeo
Wbicb We NeeJ to Act 0n. Global Water Intelligence (Nai. 18, 2u1u),
http:¡¡www.globalwateiintel.com¡insight¡anothei-bau-iuea-which-we-neeu-act.html.
21
inteinational oiganization.
88
This woulu seem to evince a ueveloping law of inteinational
custom.
89
In 2uu4, the Inteinational Law Association ieviseu its Belsinki Rules on
Inteinational Watei Resouices by publishing the Beilin Rules. The uocument is meant to
"expiess iules of law as they piesently stanus |sic] anu, to a small extent, iules not yet
binuing legal obligations but which, in the juugment of the Association, aie emeiging as
iules of customaiy inteinational law."
9u
Section 17 of that uocument is uevoteu to "the
Right of Access to Watei." Custom, howevei, iemains insufficiently uevelopeu to
inuepenuently piotect a human iight to watei foi two ieasons. Fiist, the uefinition of the
iight uevelopeu at the inteinational level, though gieatly claiifieu by ueneial Comment 1S,
still ielies heavily on the "content-giving" function of national couits anu legislation uue to
its novelty.
91
As if noting this, Chaptei Iv of the Beilin Rules outlines basic piinciples foi a
human iight to watei but avoius outlining the iight's content in uetail.
92
Seconuly, the iuea
of a human iight to watei has tiiggeieu the outspoken iefusal of some states to accept that
iight's enshiinement into binuing law, a ieality that may hinuei the uevelopment of legal
custom. Canaua has ueclaieu that it uoes not believe such a iight to exist in any way.
9S


B. Befininq tbe leqol Source of o Riqbt to Woter

Although the inteinational community has acknowleugeu the existence of a human
iight to watei, the uocumentation outlineu above uoes not effectively uefine the leqol
content of such a iight. Initial effoits to uo so, like those of Petei uleick, began by


88
COHRE(a), supro note 48, at 2-S.

89
Inteinational custom is geneially consiueieu one of the piinciple souices of binuing inteinational law. See Statute of
the Inteinational Couit of Iustice, supro note S9, at ait. S8.

9u
Inteinational Law Association |ILA], Berlin Rules on Woter Resources 4 (Aug. 21, 2uu4), ovoiloble ot
http:¡¡www.cawatei-info.net¡libiaiy¡eng¡l¡beilin_iules.puf |heieinaftei Berlin Rules].

91
An investigation of this iole is the woik of §Iv anu v of this essay.

92
Berlin Rules, supro note 9u, at 2S-24.

9S
Canaua's position as a potential "peisistent objectoi" is believeu to stem fiom a peiceiveu conflict between watei
iights anu NAFTA. Bepenuing on the global pievalence of such a position, the uevelopment of custom may be hinueieu. A
Notionol Bisqroce. ConoJo´s Sbomeful Position on tbe Riqbt to Woter. The Council of Canadians (Nai. 2S, 2uu8).
http:¡¡www.canauians.oig¡watei¡uocuments¡WWB¡2uu9¡WWBFS-uSu9-RTW.puf.*
("In 2uu2 anu 2uuS, Canaua was the only countiy to vote against 0niteu Nations (0N) iesolutions on the human iight to
watei, stating, 'Canaua uoes not accept that theie is a iight to uiinking watei anu sanitation.'"). Canaua's official position
may be softening, howevei, as eviuenceu by theii vote of abstention iegaiuing the 2u1u ueneial Assembly iesolution on
the iight to watei anu sanitation, supro note 76. Still Canaua's iepiesentative insisteu on that occasion that no
inteinational consensus hau been ieacheu on the issue. See Statement of the Repiesentative of Canaua to the 0.N. ueneial
Assembly (Iuly 28, 2u1u), reprinteJ in Piess Release, supro note 78.
22
consiueiing the obliqotions ielateu to watei iights.
94
These somewhat unsophisticateu
enueavois aimeu at answeiing questions about the scope of such a iight, incluuing how
much watei it woulu iequiie anu foi what puiposes. Attempts at "iights constiuction" have
become incieasingly elaboiate ovei the last twenty yeais. The fiist of these weie giounueu
in civil anu political iights aiguments in suppoit of the iight to life. Noie iecent attempts,
like those of Kiefei anu Biolmann
9S
oi Iiujo,
96
suppoit the existence of an inuepenuent
iight to watei as a ueiivative of states' socio-economic iights obligations. It is fiom this
constiuction that we finu the tiue legal shape of the iight to watei.
The 0BBR, authoieu in 1948, guaiantees eveiyone "the iight to life, libeity anu
secuiity of the peison."
97
Watei is not explicitly enshiineu in the Beclaiation, though
Aiticle 2S notes that "|e]veiyone has the iight to a stanuaiu of living auequate foi the
health anu well-being of himself anu of his family, incluuing foou, clothing, housing anu
meuical caie anu necessaiy social seivices."
98
The non-binuing iights enshiineu in the
0BBR weie split into two covenants, one piotecting civil anu political iights (ICCPR) anu
the othei, socio-economic anu cultuial iights (ICESCR).
99
Common aiticle 1(2) of both
Covenants states that, "in no case may a people be uepiiveu of its own means of
subsistence." Such a "means of subsistence" has been helu to necessaiily incluue watei.
1uu

The human iight to watei, then, can be "constiueu" fiom eithei of these uocuments to
uiffeient conceptual enus, anu aiguments have been maue foi both inteipietations. The
oiigin asseiteu foi watei iights can have a laige impact in national couitiooms, wheie
iights piotection may uepenu on tieaty iatification.
1u1
This is why it is impoitant to
uistinguish the way in which the iight to watei is piopeily ueiiveu.


94
See qenerolly uleick, Riqbt to Woter, supro note 42.

9S
Supro note 7.

96
See Antonio E. Iiujo, Tbe Riqbt to Woter. 2S(2) Int’l J. Water Res. Dev 267 (2uu7).

97
0BBR, supro note 4S, at ait. S.

98
lJ. at ait. 2S.

99
The uistinction was laigely one causeu by Colu Wai politics. The iights in the 0BBR weie consiueieu to have no value
ielative to each othei, yet many Westein politicians, notably 0.S. Piesiuent Roosevelt, suboiuinateu social anu economic
conceins to civil anu political iights. See. e.q.. Fianklin B. Roosevelt, Annuol Stote of tbe 0nion AJJress to Conqress (Ian 6,
1941), ovoiloble ot http:¡¡ameiicanihetoiic.com¡speeches¡fuithefouifieeuoms.htm (asseiting foui basic human
fieeuoms - speech¡expiession, ieligion, fieeuom fiom want, fieeuom fiom feai - of which social anu economic conceins
foim only a seconuaiy pait).

1uu
Kiefei & Biolmann, supro note 7, at 18S ("|I]t is cleai that access to auequate qualitative anu quantitative watei
supplies is a funuamental pieconuition foi the full iealisation |sic] of seveial of the iights explicitly guaianteeu unuei the
ICCPR anu the ICESCR.").

1u1
At the inteinational level, such as in the intei-Ameiican system, iights oiigin is less impoitant than the "lawyeiing"
of those litigating the cases. See Nelish supro, note SS, at 177.
2S
If one ueiives a univeisal human iight to watei fiom the ICCPR, watei is asseiteu as
a funuamental element of the iight to life,
1u2
iequiiing mainly that states uo not inteifeie in
its enjoyment - a negative obligation.
1uS
Some have aigueu foi this constiuction because
the ICCPR peimits no ueiogation, because the iight to life may in some ciicumstances be
consiueieu a ius coqens noim, anu because the ICCPR is immeuiately enfoiceable.
1u4
In fact,
ceitain authois have gone so fai as to suggest that all socio-economic iights litigation in
ceitain legal systems shoulu be "iefiameu" as civil-political claims.
1uS
As Kiefei anu
Biolmann aumit, "such a iight woulu give iise to a veiy foiceful set of immeuiate state
obligations."
1u6

The Buman Rights Committee (CCPR) iecently embiaceu a similai appioach in its
Concluuing 0bseivations to Isiael's Thiiu Peiiouic Repoit in 2u1u.
1u7
Foi the fiist time in
histoiy that bouy helu the uenial of watei to be a violation of the iights to life anu equal
piotection unuei the law.
1u8
It is impoitant, howevei, to fully unueistanu the Committee's
ieasoning. The 0bseivations uo not inuicate the legal basis foi an inuepenuent iight to


1u2
Inteinational Covenant on Civil anu Political Rights, ait. 6, Bec. 16, 1966, 999 0.N.T.S. 171. |heieinaftei ICCPR].

1uS
Susan Nollei 0kin, libertv onJ Welfore: Some lssues in Eumon Riqbts Tbeorv. in Nomos XXIII: Human Rights 2Su,
2S7 (I. Rolanu Pennock & Iohn W. Chapman eus., 1981). The iight to life is helu by many also to incluue positive
obligations. Whethei oi not one believes the piincipally "negative" iight to life also incluues positive obligations, the
essence of ICCPR ait. 6 seems to unuoubteuly consist in the piotection of the riqbt to life itself, not the piotection oi
cieation of the ciicumstances in which life can be guaianteeu. This seconu task is moie akin to the woik of socio-
economic iights. See J.E.S. Fawcett, The Application of the European Convention on Human Rights S7 (1987)
(insisting in the case of the iight to life in the Euiopean Chaitei that, "it is not life, but the iight to life, which is to be
piotecteu by law").*

1u4
Supro note 7, at 186.

1uS
See. e.q.. Iames L. Cavallaio & Emily I. Schaffei, less os Hore: Retbinkinq Supronotionol litiqotion of Fconomic onJ
Sociol Riqbts in tbe Americos. S6 Hastings L.J. 217 (2uuS). Foi a similai aigument foi the 0.N. system, see geneially
Nichael I. Bennis & Baviu P. Stewait, Iusticiobilitv of Fconomic. Sociol onJ Culturol Riqbts: SboulJ Tbere Be on lnternotionol
Comploints Hecbonism to AJiuJicote tbe Riqbts to IooJ. Woter. Eousinq. Eeoltb? 98(S) Am. J. Int’l L. 462, 467 (2uu4).
These souices aie citeu anu ciiticizeu in Nelish, supro note SS.

1u6
Kiefei & Biolmann, supro note 7, at 187.

1u7
Comm. on Civil anu Political Rights, Thiiu Peiiouic Repoit of Isiael uue in 2uu7, 0.N. Boc., CCPR¡C¡ISR¡S (Nov. 21,
2uu8), at http:¡¡uaccess-uus-ny.un.oig¡uoc¡0NB0C¡uEN¡uu8¡4SS¡9u¡PBF¡uu84SS9u.puf.0penElement. The Buman
Rights Committee is the bouy chaigeu with ICCPR enfoicement. See ICCPR, supro note 1u2, at ait. 28, 41.

1u8
The woik of concluuing obseivations iequiies subtle inteipietation. A "iecommenuation" is maue with explicit
iefeience to an ICCPR aiticle thiough paienthetical citation at the conclusion of the obseivation paiagiaph. Although the
Committee nevei conuemns Isiael foi contiavening the law, the subsequent iecommenuation foi action implies that the
law puisuant to the aiticles iefeienceu is not being auequately obseiveu. In its obseivations ielateu to watei access, the
Committee cites Aiticles 6 (Right to Life) anu 26 (Right to Equal Piotection) ICCPR iepeateuly. See Comm. on Civil anu
Political Rights, Consiueiation of Repoits Submitteu by States Paities unuei Aiticle 4u of the Covenant (Isiael), ¶8, 17, 18,
24, 0.N. Boc. CCPR¡C¡ISR¡C0¡S (Sep. S, 2u1u), at http:¡¡uaccess-uus-
ny.un.oig¡uoc¡0NB0C¡uEN¡u1u¡448¡u6¡PBF¡u1u448u6.puf.0penElement. A bettei unueistanuing of the legal
questions at hanu can be founu by ieauing the "List of Issues." See Comm. on Civil anu Political Rights, List of Issues to be
Taken 0p in Connection with the Consiueiation of the Thiiu Peiiouic Repoit of Isiael (Auvance veision), 0.N. Boc.
CCPR¡C¡ISR¡0¡S (Nov. 17, 2uu9), at http:¡¡www2.ohchi.oig¡english¡bouies¡hic¡uocs¡Auvanceveisions¡CCPR-C-ISR-
0S.puf.
24
watei ueiiveu fiom the ICCPR, but only claiify the scope of othei, well-establisheu
civil¡political iights. In its foui iefeiences to Isiaeli failuies iegaiuing watei access, the
CCPR iefeis only to situations in which access was JeqroJeJ (ex. thiough the uestiuction of
existing infiastiuctuie) oi binJereJ (ex. thiough iestiiction of the movement of goous anu
people essential to watei piovision oi infiastiuctuial impiovement). As such, the
Committee's ieasoning ensuies that any watei-ielateu obligation baseu on the iight to life
iemains piincipally a "negative" one. It is uoubtful whethei the Committee will evei asseit
"positive" obligations, noting its pievious tieatment of such issues.
1u9
If the CCPR weie to
constiue the iight to life at the level of inteinational law as requirinq tbe provision of life-
sustaining elements such as watei,
11u
such a conceptual stietch might weaken the integiity
of ICCPR Aiticle 6(1) anu in tuin, its uomestic justiciability.
111
Such a iisk is incompatible
with the woik of legal constiuction foi a human iight to watei, as the inteinational noim
ielies to a gieat extent on the chaiactei of its national use - the piocess exploieu in Section
Iv.
Touay, watei iights aie moie appiopiiately constiueu as necessaiy foi the
enjoyment of the "welfaie" iights within the ICESCR. These iights aie geneially steieotypeu
as iequiiing both positive anu negative state action foi theii full iealization.
112
Pieviously,
most scholais uoubteu theii justiciability, as the ICESCR uoes not explicitly iequiie juuicial
iemeuy.
11S
Recent case law, howevei, has pioven that state obligations foi the iespect,


1u9
Some of the Committee's ueneial Comments, specifically No. 6, woulu seem to make it uifficult to finu a uefinitive
violation of watei iights if one weie aigueu befoie the bouy. This is because although the Committee has vieweu the iight
to life as "iequiie|ing] that states auopt positive measuies," it qualifies such an unueistanuing with the statement, "in this
connection, it woulu be Jesiroble foi states paities to take all possible measuies to ieuuce infant moitality." Comm. on
Civil anu Political Rights, ueneial Comment No. 6: The Right to Life, 16th Sess., Iuly 12-Su, 1982, 0.N. uA0R, S7th Sess.,
Supp. No. 4u, A¡S7¡4u, at ¶ S (Iuly Su, 1982), reprinteJ in Compilation of ueneial Comments anu ueneial
Recommenuations Auopteu by Buman Rights Tieaty Bouies, 0.N. Boc. BRI¡uEN¡1¡Rev.1, at 6 (Iuly 27, 1994) (emphasis
auueu). "Besiiability" is an obviously weakei stanuaiu of tieaty enfoicement than "iequiiement." Foi an explanation of
uiffeiing acauemic views on the positive oi negative natuie of the iight to life as well as the impoit of the Committee's
ueneial Comment 6, see Kiefei & Biolmann, supro note 7. at 188-9.

11u
The use of the phiase "in inteinational law" is meant to uistinguish this activity fiom the woik of some national
couits piotecting watei iights as a ueiivative of the iight to life uue to juiisuictional iestiiction. See. e.q.. "Inuia," infro §
Iv, pait C2.

111
See Kiefei & Biolmann, supro note 7, at 189 (aiguing that "oveitly positive inteipietations of the iight to life . . . caiiy
the iisk of bluiiing oi ovei-stietching |its] noimative content.").

112
See supro note 1uS.

11S
The ICESCR uoes not pioviue foi juuicial iemeuy, noting only that legal methous aie one appiopiiate means of
implementation. See ICESCR, supro note S7, at ait. 2(1). In ueneial Comment 9, howevei, the CESCR notes that Covenant
iights aie justiciable, anu that states failing to offei juuicial piotection shoulu justify why they haven't uone so. See Comm.
on Economic, Social anu Cultuial Rights, ueneial Comment No. 9: The Bomestic Application of the Covenant, ¶ 8, 0.N. Boc.
E¡C.12¡1998¡24 (Bec. S, 1998), at http:¡¡uocuments-uus-
ny.un.oig¡uoc¡0NB0C¡uEN¡u99¡4u4¡24¡puf¡u994u424.puf.0penElement.
2S
piotection anu fulfillment of socio-economic iights ore juuicially enfoiceable.
114
In fact,
aiguing that socio-economic iights aie unenfoiceable may have been one of the gieatest
misconceptions in mouein human iights auvocacy.
11S

The socio-economic iight to watei is piimaiily ueiiveu fiom ICESCR Aiticle 11(1) -
"the cential legal basis foi the iight" - but is linkeu to the fulfillment of othei enumeiateu
iights in 11(2)
116
anu 12(1)
117
ICESCR.
118
Aiticle 11(1) ieaus,

|t]he States Paities to the piesent Covenant iecognize the iight of eveiyone to an auequate
stanuaiu of living foi himself anu his family, incluuing auequate foou, clothing anu housing, anu to
the continuous impiovement of living conuitions. The States Paities will take appiopiiate steps to
ensuie the iealization of this iight, iecognizing to this effect the essential impoitance of
inteinational co-opeiation baseu on fiee consent.
119


Watei's omission fiom the list of elements essential foi the "auequate stanuaiu of living"
piotecteu by Aiticle 11(1) may stem fiom the way the piepaiatoiy committee foimulateu
0BBR Aiticle 2S, fiom which the language is boiioweu. Buman iights histoiian Iohannes
Noisink insists that each iight is ieally a layei of piotection oiganizeu aiounu a coie
phiase, which foi Aiticle 2S was the iight to "secuiity in the event of unemployment oi
sickness . . . oi othei lack of livelihoou in ciicumstances beyonu his contiol."
12u
The
"auequate stanuaiu of living" language was tackeu onto the fiont of this coie piovision by
seveial Latin Ameiican countiies anu piotecteu fiom ueletion by China. Social secuiity was
the focus of Aiticle 2S, not a uelimitation of all the elements essential to life. Foi this ieason
watei was piesumably implieu by the woiu "incluuing."


114
The justiciability of socio-economic iights is geneially acknowleugeu. See COHRE(c), supro note Su, at 277: Nelish,
supro note SS: Winkei, supro note S6.

11S
See Chisanga Pute-Chekwe & Noia Floou, Irom Bivision to lnteqrotion: Fconomic. Sociol onJ Culturol Riqbts os Bosic
Eumon Riqbts. in Giving Meaning to Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights S9, S9 (Isfahan Neiali & valeiie
0osteivelu eus., 2uu1): Nelish, supro note SS, at Pait IIIA. See olso Kiefei & Biolmann, supro note 7, at 191 (aiguing that
"|t]his uichotomy. is wiuely consiueieu an unuuly naiiow unueistanuing of the natuie of these iights anu coiiesponuing
state obligations.")

116
ICESCR, supro note S7, at ait. 11(2) ("The States Paities to the piesent Covenant, iecognizing the funuamental iight
of eveiyone to be fiee fiom hungei, shall take, inuiviuually anu thiough inteinational co-opeiation, the measuies,
incluuing specific piogiammes, which aie neeueu . . .").

117
lJ. at ait. 12(1) ("The States Paities to the piesent Covenant iecognize the iight of eveiyone to the enjoyment of the
highest attainable stanuaiu of physical anu mental health.").

118
See COHRE(c), supro note Su, at 7. See olso Kiefei & Biollman, supro note 7, at 19S ("|A] tiauitional exeicise in
inteinational legal constiuction |uemonstiates] . . . that a human iight to watei is implieu unuei aiticles 11(1) anu 12(1)
ICESCR.").

119
ICESCR, supro note S7, at ait. 11(1).

12u
Johannes Morsink, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Origins, Drafting and Intent,
191-92 (1999).
26
The most poweiful legal souice to uate foi an unueistanuing of an inuepenuent
human iight to watei ueiiveu fiom the ICESCR is ueneial Comment 1S (2uuS) of the
CESCR. The puipose of a ueneial Comment is "to make the expeiience gaineu. thiough the
examination of those |tieaty monitoiing] iepoits available foi the benefit of all States
paities in oiuei to assist anu piomote theii fuithei implementation of the Covenant."
121

The CESCR began uiafting ueneial Comments in its thiiu session, aftei being inviteu to uo
so by the Economic anu Social Council (EC0S0C) in 1988, anu aftei that invitation was
enuoiseu by the ueneial Assembly.
122
EC0S0C confiimeu its suppoit in 199u, uiging the
CESCR to "continue using that mechanism to uevelop the fullei appieciation of the
obligations of State Paities unuei the Covenant."
12S

ueneial Comments aie non-binuing, anu as such, must finu suppoit foi all of theii
conclusions within the accepteu uefinition of each iight to which they peitain. They may
not cieate new entitlements anu obligations. This iestiiction of the Committee's manuate,
coupleu with its expeitise anu the iepiesentation of membei states, gives its Comments
"consiueiable |legal] weight" as authoiitative inteipietations of the ICESCR.
124
ueneial
Comment 1S (a) uefines the noimative content of the iight to watei, (b) establishes coie
obligations incumbent on states, (c) notes "special topics" to consiuei in Covenant
application, anu (u) establishes guiuelines foi state action in the iealm of national watei
management policy. The uefinition foi the iight to watei founu within the Comment is
exploieu below, as suppoiteu anu fuithei claiifieu by othei legal souices like the Sub-
Commission Repoit.
12S


C. Tbe Normotive Content of tbe Riqbt to Woter onJ Responsibilities ReloteJ Tbereto

The iight to watei entitles each peison to sufficient, safe, acceptable, accessible anu
affoiuable watei foi peisonal anu uomestic use. This use incluues the pievention of ueath


121
The puipose of a geneial comment as outlineu by the Committee can be founu in, Comm. on Economic, Social anu
Cultuial Rights, Intiouuction: The Puipose of ueneial Comments, Su Sess., Feb. 6-24, 1989, 0.N. ESC0R, 1989, Supp. No. 4,
E¡1989¡22-E¡C.12¡1989¡S, at 87 (Feb. 24, 1989), ovoiloble ot http:¡¡uocuments-uus-
ny.un.oig¡uoc¡0NB0C¡uEN¡u89¡178¡19¡puf¡u8917819.puf.0penElement.

122
Foi an explanation of this histoiical piocess see lJ. at 87.

12S
E.S.C. Res. 199u¡4S, 0.N. Boc. E¡199u¡7u¡Auu.1, at 1u (Nay S, 199u).

124
COHRE(c), supro note Su, at 6.

12S
Supro note 7S.
27
fiom uehyuiation, the avoiuance of uisease, anu watei foi peisonal consumption, foou
piepaiation, washing anu hygiene. The elements of such a iight "must be oJequote foi
human uignity, life anu health," which is to say that the full scope of the iight is bioauei
than meie suivival inteiests.
126
The noimative content of the iight when foimulateu in this
way incluues both fieeuoms anu entitlements.

The fieeuoms incluue the iight to maintain access to existing watei supplies necessaiy foi the iight
to watei, anu the iight to be fiee fiom inteifeience, such as the iight to be fiee fiom aibitiaiy
uisconnections oi contamination of watei supplies. By contiast, the entitlements incluue the iight
to a system of watei supply anu management that pioviues equality of oppoitunity foi people to
enjoy the iight to watei.
127


Each element of the iight to watei iequiies basic uefinition.
128
LM(%$(H%$%0) iefeis to
"sufficient anu iegulai" quantities foi peisonal use, as baseu in those guiuelines foi human
health uevelopeu by the Woilu Bealth 0iganization, but tailoieu to local contexts.
129
In
N3($%0), watei shoulu be fiee of contamination, anu not negatively impact human health.
0uality watei is also "(44#I0(H$#" in coloi, smell anu taste, encouiaging people to use safe
souices.
1Su
Watei's accessibility is the most complex of the iight's elements. L44#--%H$#
watei is available to all inuiviuuals physically, economically, anu on a non-uisciiminatoiy
basis (a basic human iights tenet). Physical accessibility implies an ability to collect watei
without an unieasonably long waiting time, anu pioximity to eveiy householu, public
institution anu woikplace. These iequiiements aie also tailoieu to local contexts.
1S1

Economic accessibility is sometimes ie-teimeu "affoiuability." LCC1"2(H$# watei shoulu
not compiomise the inuiviuual's ability to piocuie othei necessities (e.g. foou, housing).


126
uC1S, supro note SS, at ¶11. The appioach to fulfilling the iight's full scope (as suppoiting human uignity) shoulu be
uistinguisheu fiom the appioach taken towaius its minimum coie (to ensuie suivival). Foi a uiscussion see infro § III,
Pait B.

127
uC1S, supro note SS, at ¶1u.

128
The stanuaius of accessibility, affoiuability, acceptability anu quality weie oiiginally uevelopeu by the CESCR in the
context of access to health caie. See qenerollv uC14, supro note 8S.

129
uC1S (supro note SS at ¶12) explicitly iefeiences Guy Howard & Jamie Bertram, World Health Organization,
Domestic Water Quantity, Service Level and Health (2uuS).

1Su
uC1S, supro note SS, at ¶12(b). The Inuepenuent Expeit's explanation, though too bioau to be suitable foi the leqol
uefinition, is helpful in claiifying iequiiement concepts, incluuing the oft-confusing puipose of "acceptability." See Inuep.
Expeit on the Issue of Buman Rights 0bligations Relateu to Access to Safe Biinking Watei anu Sanitation, 0uestionnoire:
´6ooJ Proctices´ reloteJ to Access to Sofe Brinkinq Woter onJ Sonitotion (Feb. 2u1u),
http:¡¡www2.ohchi.oig¡english¡issues¡watei¡Iexpeit¡inuex.htm (follow "The uoou Piactices 0uestionnaiie - English"
hypeilink).

1S1
uC1S, supro note SS, at ¶12(c)i-iii.
28
Foi some of the pooi, affoiuability may entail fiee piovision.
1S2
Finally, as watei iights aie
often asseiteu in a sustainable uevelopment paiauigm, it shoulu be noteu that they aie
usufructorv iights - limiteu to uses that uo not waste, uestioy oi fully exploit available
iesouices.
1SS

The state obligations stemming fiom a iight to watei aie often bioken into thiee
uuties: to respect. protect anu fulfill.
1S4
+#-I#40 foi watei iights iequiies that states iefiain
fiom inteifeiing with the enjoyment of the iight.
1SS
Inuiviuuals must also be I"10#40#2
fiom thiiu paity exploitation (foi instance, fiom iesouice pollution by coipoiations).
1S6

Finally, states must expeuitiously C3$C%$$ watei iights by maintaining iespect anu piotection
while simultaneously piomoting the full iealization of the iight thiough taigeteu effoits
aimeu at assisting inuiviuuals incapable of iealizing the iight themselves.
1S7
These effoits
must involve stakeholuei paiticipation. States also have inteinational obligations ielateu to
each of these thiee uuties that they must subsume into theii exteinal ielations.
1S8
Finally, a
iight to watei iequiies that states cooiuinate inteinal effoits, cleaily uesignate
iesponsibilities, anu when violations suiface, pioviue effective iemeuy both nationally anu
inteinationally.
1S9
National institutions shoulu be iesponsive to human neeu anu
accountable to stakeholueis.
ueneial piinciples of law, the fouith inteipietative souice fiom which "legal
constiuction" must uiaw, have a laige pait to play in both the noimative content anu
obligations ielateu to watei iights. The fiist, '1'O2%-4"%&%'(0%1'P
*QRS
*is both an element of


1S2
lJ. at ¶27.

1SS
See ILA, supro note 9u, at 1S. Etymologically, the woiu "usufiuctoiy" comes fiom the combination of the Latin usus
(use) anu fructus (enjoyment), uelibeiately omitting the thiiu piinciple of absolute owneiship, obusus (abuse).

1S4
The tiipaitite concept of state obligations comes fiom Eiue (foimei Special Rappoiteui on Foou) anu is baseu on
eailiei iueas by Shue, See H. Shue, Basic Rights, Subsistence, Affluence and U.S. Foreign Policy, 18-SS (198u).
Eiue fiist employeu the tiipaitite typology in, Special Rappoiteui on the Enjoyment of Econ., Social anu Cultuial Rights
anu the Right to Auequate Foou, Tbe Riqbt to AJequote IooJ os o Eumon Riqbt. 0.N. Sub-comm'n on the Piomotion anu
Piotection of Buman Rights, 0.N. Boc.
0.N. Boc. E¡CN.4¡Sub.2¡1987¡2S, at ¶1u7-117, 169-181 (Iul. 7, 1987) (by Asbjoin Eiue).

1SS
uC1S, supro note SS, at ¶21. This obligation is most like those "negative" obligations associateu with civil¡political
iights.

1S6
lJ. at ¶2S.

1S7
lJ. at ¶2S, 26, 29.

1S8
lJ. at ¶Su-S6. See Special Rappoiteui on the Right to Foou, Sixtb Report on tbe Riqbt to IooJ, Comm'n on Buman
Rights, 0.N. Boc. E¡CN.4¡2uu6¡44, at ¶28-S8 (Nai. 16, 2uu6) (by Ian Zieglei) foi a goou explanation of extia-teiiitoiial
obligations ielateu to socio-economic iights.*

1S9
uC1S, supro note SS, at ¶2S-29.

14u
Non-uisciimination as a piinciple of inteinational law finus its piimaiy souice in 0.N. CBARTER ait. 1(S), SS anu
0BBR, supro note 4S, at ait. 2(1). Likewise, the ICESCR obliges states paities "to guaiantee that the iights enunciateu in
the piesent Covenant will be exeiciseu without uisciimination of any kinu as to iace, coloui, sex, language, ieligion,
29
"accessibility" anu an "immeuiate anu cioss-cutting obligation" incumbent on states/
QRQ
*The*
seconu, #CC#40%M#*"#&#2), has two components.
142
States aie obligateu to amenu theii
uomestic legal oiuei as necessaiy to give effect to theii tieaty obligations.
14S
Such action
shoulu guaiantee "eveiyone the iight to an effective iemeuy by the competent national
tiibunals foi acts violating. funuamental iights."
144
The thiiu*geneial piinciple is $#8($*
#N3($%0)P*which uefines the paiameteis unuei which an effective iemeuy is piopeily
enjoyeu. Equality incluues a uual guaiantee of equal anu effective piotection befoie anu
unuei the law.
14S
It is impoitant to asseit each of these elements as geneial piinciples of
inteinational law, because although each is acknowleugeu by the ICESCR in some way, theii
most complete legal foims aie founu outsiue of that uocument.
As aumitteu by the CESCR in ueneial Comment 9 (uomestic implementation), "|t]he
Covenant uoes not specify the specific means by which it is to be implementeu into the
national oiuei,"
146
anu "|t]he iight to an effective iemeuy neeu not be inteipieteu as always
iequiiing a juuicial iemeuy."
147
A human iight to watei as ueiiveu fiom an ICESCR
obligation, then, uoes not necessaiily incluue a iight to uefenu one's entitlement in couit.
Neveitheless, the failuie of a state to guaiantee the iight to watei thiough juuicial iemeuy
woulu have to be justifieu by an aigument that such legal ieuiess woulu be "inappiopiiate"
oi "unnecessaiy" - an especially uifficult task when one acknowleuges that most non-

political oi othei opinion, national oi social oiigin, piopeity, biith oi othei status . . ." - an obligation ieasseiteu
thioughout the Covenant (ICESCR, supro note Su, at ait. 2(2)).

141
The CESCR consiueieu the natuie of non-uisciimination in, Comm. on Economic, Social anu Cultuial Rights, ueneial
Comment No. 2u: Non-Bisciimination in Economic, Social anu Cultuial Rights, ¶7, 0.N. Boc. E¡C.12¡uC¡2u (Iune 1u,
2uu9), at www2.ohchi.oig¡english¡bouies¡cesci¡uocs¡gc¡E.C.12.uC.2u.uoc.

142
Though both components exist as inuepenuent piinciples of inteinational law, they aie joineu heie to uemonstiate
theii complementaiy functions. Both aie useu by the CESCR as piinciples conuitioning the piopei uomestic application of
the ICESCR. See CESCR ueneial Comment No. 9, supro note 11S, at ¶S.

14S
This obligation is implieu fiom the language of the vienna Convention on the Law of Tieaties specifying that "|A]
paity may not invoke the piovisions of its inteinal law as justification foi its failuie to peifoim a tieaty." vienna
Convention on the Law of Tieaties, ait. 27, Nay 2S, 1969, 11SS 0.N.T.S. SS1.

144
0BBR, supro note 4S, at ait 8. Nany, if not all of the piovisions of the 0BBR aie incieasingly consiueieu to foim
binuing iules of customaiy law. This piovision is not, howevei, piesenteu heie as a customaiy iule, but iathei as an
embouiment of a stanuing piinciple of law.

14S
The uual natuie of legal equality comes fiom the ICCPR, which uoes not explicitly iestiict the iule to the application
of civil anu political iights only (ICCPR, supro note 1u2, at ait. 26). This stanuaiu was not ieiteiateu in the ICESCR, which
only acknowleuges "the equal anu inalienable iights of all" (ICESCR. supro note S7, at "Pieamble"). The ICCPR stanuaiu
has been asseiteu by the CCPR, howevei, to "constitute a basic anu geneial piinciple ielating to the piotection of human
iights" anu theiefoie applies equally to the piotection of socio-economic iights. See Comm. on Civil anu Political Rights,
ueneial Comment No. 18: Non-Bisciimination, S7th Sess., 0ct. 2S - Nov. 1u, 1989, 0.N. uA0R, 4Sth Sess., Supp. No. 4u,
A¡4S¡4u, at 17S (Nov. 9, 1989), ovoiloble ot http:¡¡uocuments-uus-
ny.un.oig¡uoc¡0NB0C¡uEN¡N9u¡2Su¡S1¡img¡N9u2SuS1.puf.0penElement.

146
CESCR ueneial Comment 9, supro note 11S, at ¶S.

147
lJ. at ¶9.
Su
juuicial iemeuies woulu be ienueieu ineffective without legal ieinfoicement.
148
In most
cases, then, state obligations vis-à-vis watei iights incluue an obligation to ensuie at least
some justiciability.
149


B. Proqressive Reolizotion

Implementation of the iight to watei follows the same mouel of "piogiessive
iealization" that chaiacteiizes othei socio-economic iights. It is peihaps this notion, anu
not the uefinition of the iight itself, that makes its inteinational enfoicement so uifficult.
ueneially, states aie obligateu unuei the vienna Convention on the Law of Tieaties to move
as expeuitiously anu effectively as possible towaiu the full obseivance of tieaty obligations,
incluuing the iealization of human iights.
1Su
This geneial uuty is qualifieu, howevei, by a
iesouice "loophole" uiiectly enshiineu in Aiticle 2(1) ICESCR.

|A state must] take steps///*01*06#*&(T%&3&*1C*%0-*(M(%$(H$#*"#-13"4#-, with a view to achieving
piogiessively the full iealization of the iights iecognizeu in the piesent Covenant by all
appiopiiate means, incluuing paiticulaily the auoption of legislative measuies.
1S1


0nlike the ICCPR, which obliges a state to immeuiately "iespect anu to ensuie to all
inuiviuuals within its teiiitoiy anu subject to its juiisuiction" the iights it enshiines, the
ICESCR only iequiies that a state "take steps" to pioviue foi iights-piotection as best it can
in the pievailing ciicumstances. This uuty to piogiessively iealize sboulJ iequiie states to
iespect, piotect anu fulfill watei iights "to the highest uegiee possible at any given
moment," incluuing the avoiuance of any uelibeiately ietiogiessive measuies.
1S2
Such an
iuea acknowleuges the enoimous time anu iesouices that socio-economic iights
implementation iequiies. The juugment of what constitutes "expeuitious" action in the face
of so many ielateu but sepaiate obligations, howevei, peimits states a uegiee of fieeuom in


148
lJ. at ¶S.

149
It is cleai fiom the woik of ueneial Comment Nos. S, 9 anu 1S that not all elements of the iight to watei woulu be
subject immeuiate implementation anu theiefoie immeuiately justiciable. This is the piinciple ieason foi the
simultaneous explanation of the "minimum coie" concept exploieu in Section III below.

1Su
vienna Convention, supro note 14S, at ait. 26 ("Eveiy tieaty in foice is binuing upon the paities to it anu must be
peifoimeu by them in goou faith.").

1S1
ICESCR, supro note S7, at ait. 2(1) (emphasis auueu).

1S2
Gorsboth, supro note 2S, at 7 (emphasis auueu).
S1
theii implementation of socio-economic iights that is often pioblematic. This is because the
stanuaius by which this action can be juugeu aie so subjective that they often allow
Convention piotections to be effectively nullifieu.
1SS
This ioom foi eiioi is fuithei
complicateu by iestiictions on the authoiity of the implementing bouy, the CESCR.
1S4
Even
when able to iesponu to an ostensible violation, the laige amount of uata iequiieu -
incluuing the ability to statistically analyze it - makes the job of the CESCR "uniealistic anu
viitually impossible" in many places.
1SS
*
Piogiessive iealization, in its confusing content anu common misappiopiiation as
an excuse foi insinceie uevelopment effoits, has been calleu "|t]he single most complex anu
misunueistoou uimension of economic anu social iights."
1S6
This confusion has piompteu
the giowth of an intellectual noim iecognizing obligations of an immeuiate natuie. The fiist
half of this iuea auuiesses states' actions themselves. In ueneial Comment S, the CESCR
helu that states must take steps towaiu the full-iealization of iights. These steps must be as
Jeliberote, concrete anu torqeteJ as possible towaiu the fulfillment of the Covenant's
obligations.
1S7
The Committee then uevelopeu a coiielating iuea of each iight's "coie
content" anu the absolute minimum obligations ielating to that coie. When taken togethei,
these two iueas shoulu help states juuge what actions aie immeuiately iequiieu anu what
actions - though still iequiieu - may be tempoiaiily uefeiieu towaiu the piogiessive
implementation of the iight's full scope. The concept of a minimum coie has been haileu by
many foi its ability to act as a benchmaik foi state compliance, because it can moie cleaily
establish when states have bieacheu theii obligations piima facie. It is to this constiuct that
we now tuin.






1SS
Audrey Chapman & Sage Russell, lntroJuction. in Core Obligations: Building a Framework for Economic,
Social and Cultural Rights 1, S (2uu2) (aiguing that this subjectivity often opens a "loophole laige enough. to nullify
the Covenant's guaiantees").

1S4
The CESCR may only "iecommenu" measuies aftei the peiiouic ieview of state submissions.

1SS
Chapman & Russell, supro note 1SS, at S.

1S6
Ciaig Scott & Philipp Alston, AJiuJicotinq Constitutionol Priorities in o Tronsnotionol Context. o Comment on
Soobromonev´s leqocv onJ 6rootbloom´s Promise. 16 S. Afr. J. Hum. Rts. 2u6, 262 (2uuu).

1S7
uCS, supro note S4, at ¶2. Watei-ielateu obligations aie implicitly incluueu aftei theii claiification in uC1S.
S2
!.../*?'2#"-0('2%'8*06#*@A%'%&3&*>1"#B*C1"*9(0#"*

A. Tbe Hinimum Core Concept 6enerollv

The iuea of "coie content" foi socio-economic iights was fiist foimulateu outsiue of
the 0.N. system, but has since gaineu wiuespieau suppoit fiom human iight piactitioneis
anu acauemics, culminating in its auoption by the CESCR.
1S8
Essentially, it posits that theie
aie uegiees of iights fulfillment, anu that one of these uegiees is a uefinable, basic
thiesholu - oi foi oui puiposes, a minimum leqol content - foi socio-economic iights.
1S9

The concept may have its oiigins in ueiman Basic Law, wheie a iight's "basic content" is
piotecteu fiom legal limitation.
16u
It's most mouein manifestation comes with ueneial
Comment S, howevei, in which the CESCR attempts to claiify the natuie of piogiessive
iealization as establishing conciete state obligations.

|T]he phiase |"piogiessive iealization"] must be ieau in the light of the oveiall objective, inueeu
the iaison u'êtie, of the Covenant which is to establish cleai obligations foi States paities in iespect
of the full iealization of the iights in question. It thus imposes an obligation to move as
expeuitiously anu effectively as possible towaius that goal.
161




1S8
Philip Alston is sometimes cieuiteu with the uevelopment of the "coie content" concept uesciibeu anu uevelopeu in
this Section. See Philip Alston, 0ut of tbe Abvss: tbe Cbollenqes Confrontinq tbe New 0.N. Committee on Fconomic. Sociol onJ
Culturol Riqbts. 9(S) Hum. Rts. Q. SSS (1987). By the eaily 2uuus, the concept hau achieveu wiuespieau suppoit in both
the Acauemy anu the 0niteu Nations system. See. e.q.. Kiefei & Biolmann. supro note 7 at 194 nn. 67-69. As eviuence of
inteinational acceptance, Kiefei anu Biolmann cite (among otheis) B.C.A. Toebes, ToworJs on lmproveJ 0nJerstonJinq of
tbe lnternotionol Eumon Riqbt to Eeoltb, 21 Human Rights Quarterly 661, 671 (1999): Tbe Hoostricbt 6uiJelines on
violotions of Fconomic. Sociol onJ Culturol Riqbts, 2u(S) Hum. Rts. Q. 691, 69S at ¶ 9 (1998): 0.N. Comm'n on Bum. Rts.,
Note veibale Bateu 86¡12¡uS fiom the Peimanent Nission of the Netheilanus to the 0niteu Nations 0ffice at ueneva
auuiesseu to the Centie foi Buman Rights ("Limbuig Piinciples"), ¶2S, 0.N. Boc. E¡CN.4¡1987¡17 (Ian. 8, 1987),
reprinteJ in 9 Hum. Rts. Q. 122 (1987). See olso Chapman & Russell, supro note 1SS, at 8 (noting that the concepts of
"coie minimum content" anu "coie minimum obligations" have become pievalent in acauemic liteiatuie since the 198us
anu togethei foim a "key concept" at the heait of theii book).

1S9
This essay consiueis the minimum coie as moie than simply a noimative element oi uefinitional aiu foi
socioeconomic iights, but iathei as a leqol stonJorJ that binus states. Bespite the fact that tiansnational, non-iuJiciol
actois have hau the laigest iole in uefining the concept's content, the concept ielies on law foi both its basis anu effect.
Like any institution attiibutable to inteinational law, the piactical enfoiceability of such a legal stanuaiu iemains laigely a
question of context. Non-justiciability, howevei, uoes not signal a concept's legal non-existence. See Kathaiine u. Young,
Tbe Hinimum Core of Fconomic onJ Sociol Riqbts. A Concept in Seorcb of Content. SS Yale J. Int’l L. 11S, 11S, 12S, 12S
(2uu8) (iefeiiing to the minimum coie alteinatively as "minimum legal content," "minimum legal thiesholu" anu
"minimum legal stanuaiu").

16u
lJ. at 124. Young cites Grundgesetz für die Bundesrepublik Deutschland [Constitution] 2S Nay 1949, ait.
19(2) (uei.) (stating that "|i]n no case may the essential content of a basic iight be encioacheu upon").

161
uCS, supro note S4, at ¶9.
SS
To claiify such obligations, the Committee intiouuces the two-pait concept of a iight's
minimum coie, fiist by uistinguishing the immeuiate effect of the iight fiom its full
scope, anu seconuly by uefining the natuie of those steps that must be taken in the
fulfillment of the iight's immeuiate effect. The Committee begins,

|the obligation] in aiticle 2(1) to take steps'. is not qualifieu noi limiteu by othei consiueiations.
Thus while the full iealization of the ielevant iights may be achieveu piogiessively, steps towaiu
that goal must be taken within a ieasonably shoit time aftei the Covenants entiy into foice. Such
steps shoulu be uelibeiate, conciete anu taigeteu as cleaily as possible towaius meeting the
obligations iecognizeu in the Covenant.
162


This fiist clause outlines those immeuiate obligations incumbent on states as they begin
effoits towaiu piogiessive iealization. The language thus opens conceptual space foi
innovation by uistinguishing between the "immeuiate effect" of the iight anu the iealization
of the iight's full scope.
16S
The Committee fills that new space by insisting that,

a minimum coie obligation to ensuie the satisfaction of, at the veiy leastP*&%'%&3&*#--#'0%($*
$#M#$-*1C*#(46*1C*06#*"%860- is incumbent upon eveiy state paity.
164


The Comment uoes not exhaustively uefine the content of this "minimum essential level"
foi any of the socio-economic iights to which it peitains. This woik is left to subsequent
Comments on each inuiviuual iight. ueneial Comment S Joes, howevei, claiify how the
bieach of a minimum coie obligation is to be iecognizeu.

Thus, foi example, a State paity in which any significant numbei of inuiviuuals is uepiiveu of
essential fooustuffs, of essential piimaiy healthcaie, of basic sheltei anu housing, oi of the most
basic foims of euucation, is piima facie, failing to uischaige its obligation unuei the Covenant.
16S


The CESCR, in inteipieting the uuties enshiineu in the ICESCR, confiims that the
state is expecteu to meet ceitain obligations even in the most uevelopmentally challenging
ciicumstances. Ninimum coie obligations set an inuepenuent guiueline aimeu at closing


162
lJ. at ¶2.

16S
The only immeuiate obligation not subject to piogiessive implementation noteu by the ICESCR is non-uisciimination
(ICESCR Ait 2(2) anu 2(S)). The bioau language of ueneial Comment S, howevei, seems to uefine othei immeuiate
obligations while justifying itself as an authoiitative inteipietation of the Covenant. This is what is meant by "opening
conceptual space."

164
uCS, supro note S4, at ¶1u.*

16S
lJ.
S4
the "loophole" within piogiessive iealization by using situations of gioss neglect as piima
facie legal pioof that a state has bieacheu its tieaty obligations. Theoietically, this woulu
enable states in uiffeiing contexts of political economy oi iesouice availability to be helu to
the same stanuaiu of piotection.
166

As its inteipietation must ieflect the spiiit of the oiiginal Covenant, the Committee also
places a iesouice limitation on the use of the minimum coie.

|I]t must be noteu that any assessment as to whethei a State has uischaigeu its minimum coie
obligation must also take account of iesouice constiaints applying within the countiy
conceineu.
167


0n the suiface, this limitation is similai to the "piogiessive iealization" clause in
ICESCR 2(1). When placeu within the laigei uefinition of the minimum coie anu its
coiiesponuing state obligations, howevei, it has a veiy uiffeient effect. Essentially, the
Comment reverses the buiuen of pioof foi state compliance in the ICESCR. Asiue fiom
situations of uelibeiate ietiogiession, the Covenant nevei iequiies that a state justify its
actions as utilizing "the maximum of its available iesouices."
168
ueneial Comment S,
howevei, iequiies explicit state justification if the minimum of the iight evei goes
unsatisfieu, as the bieach is piima facie pioof of non-compliance.
The entiie constiuct of the minimum coie, fiom its uefinition of a iight's immeuiate
effect to its ieveisal of the buiuen of pioof, is justifieu as necessaiy foi the conceptual
integiity of the Covenant itself.

If the Covenant weie to be ieau in such a way as not to establish such a minimum coie obligation,
it woulu be laigely uepiiveu of its iaison u'etie.
169


In ieality, though, ueneial Comment S is moie novel than the Committee woulu let on,
especially as it establishes a new juuicial function: the ueteimination of situations in which
a state has bieacheu its minimum coie obligations by uepiiving a "significant" numbei of
people of theii iights, anu the subsequent ieview of implementation "in the context of the


166
lJ. at 121-122.

167
lJ. at ¶1u

168
ICESCR, supro note S7, at ait. 2(1).

169
uCS, supro note S4, at ¶1u.
SS
full use of the maximum available iesouices." The minimum coie not only makes it easiei
to juuge the acceptability of state initiatives, it also stiengthens the justiciability of socio-
economic iights in national couits.
17u


B. Tbe Hinimum Core for tbe Riqbt to Woter

Following the claiification of the concept in ueneial Comment S, the CESCR began
uefining the minimum coie foi the iights to housing, foou, euucation, healthcaie, anu
finally, watei.
171
The appioach of the Committee in each of these uocuments has been to
focus on coie state obliqotions moie than coie iight's elements.
172
This has leau some to
aigue that the Committee's appioach is flaweu, especially because watei iights aie not
exhaustively uefineu in any covenant.
17S
Nost human iights tieaties, howevei, uo not
uistinguish between iights anu obligations,
174
anu "in theoiy, the coie elements of a iight
shoulu caiiy uiiectly coiielative obligations."
17S
This allows us, much like the piocess of
iights constiuction in Section II, to ieconstiuct the minimum coie foi watei. Fiist we will
outline the inteinational consensus uefining watei's minimum coie as piotecting "basic
neeus," then we will complete the legal uefinition by matching coie elements to the
obligations outlineu by the Committee in ueneial Comment 1S.
176



17u
0f couise, this still uepenus on how states enshiine ICESCR obligations anu CESCR ueneial Comments into national
law. This pioblem will be consiueieu in the following section (Iv).

171
ueneial Comments 4, 12, 1S, 14 anu 1S, iespectively. The CESCR has now publisheu 21 ueneial Comments. See
Committee on Fconomic onJ Sociol Riqbts 6enerol Comments. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights,
http:¡¡www2.ohchi.oig¡english¡bouies¡cesci¡comments.htm (last visiteu Nov. 8, 2u1u). The CESCR also iegulaily uses
the minimum coie concept in its Concluuing 0bseivations. Young, supro note 1S9, at 12u.

172
See. e.q.. Auuiey R. Chapman, A "violotions Approocb" for Honitorinq tbe lnternotionol Covenont on Fconomic. Sociol
onJ Culturol Riqbts. 18 Hum. Rts. Q. 2S (1996).

17S
Nalcolm Langfoiu, Ambition tbot overleops itself? A Response to Stepben Tullv´s ´Critique´ of tbe 6enerol Comment on
tbe Riqbt to Woter. 26(S) Neth. Q. Hum. Rts. 4SS, 4S8 (2uu6).

174
Malcolm Langford & Aofie Nolan, Centre for Housing Rights and Evictions, Litigating Economic,
Social and Cultural Rights: Legal Practitioners' Dossier 21 (2uu6).

17S
Amanua Cahill, Tbe Eumon Riqbt to Woter - A Riqbt of 0nique Stotus: Tbe leqol Stotus onJ Normotive Content of tbe
Riqbt to Woter. 9(S) Int’l J. Hum. Rts. S89, S99 - 4uu (2uuS).

176
The minimum coie has met the iecent ciiticism of seveial scholais noting its (a) conceptual auequacy as appioaches
to its uefinition leau to inueteiminacy. (b) its conceptual inauequacy as it may confuse utility foi piinciple in its piotection
of inuiviuual iights, anu (c) its piactical inappiopiiateness as a tool foi juuicial ieasoning. All thiee ciiticisms oveilap anu
leau theii authois to aigue that othei appioaches to enfoicement - incluuing the South Afiican Couits' "ieasonableness"
test uiscusseu in Section v - aie moie juiispiuuentially appiopiiate. The minimum coie appioach is consiueieu by this
essay, howevei, to foim an essential pait of existing legal uuties ielateu to watei iights, though ciiticism of the concept
may be woith consiueiing fuithei elsewheie. Foi aiguments against the minimum coie, see qenerollv, Young, supro note
1S9: Kaien Lehmann, ln Befense of tbe Constitutionol Court: litiqotinq Socio-Fconomic Riqbts onJ tbe Hvtb of tbe Hinimum
Core. 22(1) Am. U. Int’l L. Rev. 16S (2uu6): Naik S. Kenue, Tbe Soutb Africon Constitutionol Construction of Socio
Fconomic Riqbts. A Response to Critics. 19 Conn. J. Int’l L. 617 (2uuS). Authois in suppoit of the concept incluue Naiius
S6
The coie content of the iight to watei is an entitlement to suppoit bosic neeJs: "|a]s
an absolute minimum, the iight to watei entitles eveiyone to essential quantities of safe
fieshwatei foi peisonal anu uomestic uses in oiuei to pievent uehyuiation anu uisease."
177

With few exceptions, eveiy sectoi of the inteinational community involveu in watei iights
has sanctioneu this appioach. ueneial Comment 1S notes that while watei is "iequiieu foi
a iange of uiffeient puiposes. piioiity in the allocation of watei must be given to the iight
to watei foi peisonal anu uomestic uses. Piioiity shoulu also be given to the watei
iesouices iequiieu to pievent staivation anu uisease."
178
The piioiitization of peisonal anu
uomestic uses foi suivival is suppoiteu by the Repoit of the Bigh Commissionei foi Buman
Rights,
179
anu by the concept's inclusion in many of the tieaties ievieweu in Section II. The
Thiiu ueneva Convention, foi instance, iequiies that "|t]he Betaining Powei shall supply
piisoneis of wai uuiing tiansfei with sufficient foou anu uiinking watei to keep them in
goou health."
18u
In situations wheie watei is scaice oi piovision limiteu, watei foi suivival
takes piioiity. The 0.N. Convention on Watei Couises insists that in peiious of conflict ovei
iesouices, piioiity be given to watei to meet "vital human neeus."
181
The Bonn Confeience
on Fieshwatei (2uu1) states that "|w]atei shoulu be equitably anu sustainably allocateu,
fiistly to basic human neeus."
182
Nany othei ueclaiations take a similai position.
Customaiy law also suppoits the iuea of watei's minimum coie as baseu in basic
neeus. The Beilin Piinciples, in fleshing out funuamental elements of the iight to watei,
insist that "|e]veiy inuiviuual has a iight of access to. watei to meet that inuiviuual's vital
human neeus."
18S
Finally, the basic neeus appioach is geneially suppoiteu by scholais in
both law anu human iights anu by expeit technical bouies.
184
The WB0, foi instance, insists

Pieteise, Fotinq Socio-Fconomic Riqbts: Tbe 0sefulness of Riqbts Tolk in Alleviotinq Sociol EorJsbip RevisiteJ. 29 Hum. Rts.
Q. 796 (2uu7): Baviu Bilchitz, 6ivinq Socio-Fconomic Riqbts Teetb: Tbe Hinimum Core onJ lts lmportonce. 119 S. Afr. L.J.
484 (2uu2).

177
Kiefei & Biolmann, supro note 7, at 2u1.

178
uC1S, supro note SS, at ¶6.

179
See Bowaiu & Baitiam, supro note 122.

18u
Thiiu ueneva Convention, supro note S7, at ait. 46.

181
Supro note SS, at ¶6.

182
Bonn Confeience on Fieshwatei, Bonn, uei., Bec. S-7, 2uu1, RecommenJotions for Action. ¶4.

18S
Supro note 9u, at 2S-24.

184
Bluemel notes this agieement but bemoans an inability to uiscuss access anu quality iequiiements as fully. See
Bluemel, supia note S, at 986. See olso. uleick, Tbe Eumon Riqbt to Woter, supro note 42; Iulia Bauseiman, Rights &
Bumanity, A Buman Rights Appioach to Bevelopment: Some Piactical Implications foi WateiAiu's Woik, 1u (Sep. 1u,
1999) (tiansciipt on file with the authoi): Gorsboth, supro note 2S, at 7 (safe access to a minimal supply must be
pioviueu "at all times").
S7
that the iight to watei at least "implies access to the minimum necessaiy foi basic neeus,"
which shoulu be the fiist place foi national policy emphasis.
18S

These same expeits have uevoteu significant time to a ueteimination of what
omount of watei the minimum coie piotects. 0uantitative stanuaius foim pait of a
iesponsible foimulation of the minimum coie, because they peimit national couits access
to acceptable benchmaiks that can infoim theii contextualizeu uecisions. ueneial Comment
1S iefeiences the amounts stipulateu by both a WB0 stuuy (Bowaiu anu Baitiam)
186
anu
the inuepenuent stuuy of Petei uleick.
187
Both authois concui that while 2u-2S liteis pei
peison pei uay (l¡p¡u) is enough to ensuie human suivival, the amount poses a "high"
health iisk as hygiene cannot be assuieu.
188
As basic hygiene foims a pait of the iight's
minimum coie, howevei, it is geneially agieeu that somewheie between 2S-Su l¡p¡u is
sufficient to avoiu an intoleiable iisk to human health acioss geogiaphical anu social
contexts.
189
Although the numbei is somewhat impiecise anu subject to contextualization,
the amount of watei to meet coie "vital human neeus" woiluwiue is thus geneially
ueteiminable.
19u
Rigiu, context-blinu ieliance on these stanuaius, howevei, is to be
avoiueu.
191

This initial ueteimination of coie content is somewhat mouifieu by the longei
uefinition of the coie obliqotions ielateu to watei iights in paiagiaph S7 of ueneial
Comment 1S. That paiagiaph outlines nine ielateu state uuties, which can be summaiizeu
into thiee action aieas.
192
Fiist, states must ensuie that eveiyone has immeuiate access to


18S
Supro note 129, at S.

186
uC1S supro note SS, at S n. 14. u.C. 1S uelibeiately avoius setting such a quantitative basis itself. lJ. at ¶6.

187
lJ. at S n. 14 See olso. Petei B. uleick, Bosic Woter Requirements for Eumon Activities. 21(2) Water Int’l 8S (1996).*

188
Supro note 129, at S.

189
This is uistinguisheu fiom othei iequiiements, such as that of 1uu liteis set by Fallenbeig anu 0SAIB ensuiing "a
uecent anu iealistic quolitv of life." - measuies ielateu to the full scope of the iight. See. Nalcolm Langfoiu, Crossfire:
Tbere is no Eumon Riqbt to Woter for livelibooJs: A Bebote witb Helvin WooJbouse. 28(1) Waterlines S, S (2uu9).

19u
Nost expeits, incluuing Bowaiu anu Baitiam caution about the "limiteu significance" of a numeiical uefinition uue to
contextual uiffeiences. Supro note 129, at 1. Nalcom Langfoiu insists that "|h]uman iights is not just about
stiaightfoiwaiu entitlements to minimum quantities: it pioviues a subtle anu piincipleu fiamewoik foi ensuiing that the
allocation of goous anu seivices is not baseu simply on the uistiibution of powei anu wealth but is maue to iespect human
uignity." Ciossfiie, supro note 129, at 12. Watei is peihaps unique as such a numeiical level of piovision is not as easily
ueteiminable foi othei iights, but these stanuaius - while helpful in illustiating suppoit foi the iight in some cases - still
iequiie contextualization. Foi fuithei uiscussion, see infro. § v.

191
uleick notes that without meeting basic watei iequiiements, laige-scale human suffeiing is piojecteu to giow
exponentially, cieating potential foi conflict. uleick, Requirements. supro note 186, at 8S. Too much of a focus on quantity,
howevei, may olso cause conflict by ignoiing equally impoitant piinciples of non-uisciimination anu equality. Langfoiu,
Crossfire, supro note 189, at 7-8. A caieful balance can be stiuck thiough appiopiiate contextualization.

192
Note that the coie obligation ielating to sanitation has been uelibeiately excluueu. See infro Pait C, this section.
S8
the coie content of the iight.
19S
Seconu, this access must be assuieu in a non-uisciiminatoiy
way in line with aiticles 2(2) anu S of the ICESCR.
194
Finally, states must take uelibeiate,
conciete anu taigeteu steps towaiu the full iealization of the iight,
19S
incluuing iecognition
of the iight,
196
the auoption anu implementation of a national watei stiategy that auuiesses
eveiyone's neeus,
197
anu the cieation of a mechanism foi watei iights monitoiing.
198
As
noteu above, these obligations aie not subject to the "piogiessive iealization" limitation
clause in ICESCR 2(1).
It is possible to synthesize the "basic neeus" element outlineu above with the
obligations of paiagiaph S7. The coie content of a iight to watei can them be summaiizeu
in the following way:

The "minimum coie" of the iight to watei is an inuiviuual iight to sufficient, safe, acceptable,
physically accessible anu affoiuable watei to meet vital human neeus at all times, uistiibuteu in a
non-uisciiminatoiy way, acknowleugeu by the home goveinment, anu ieinfoiceu by uelibeiate,
conciete anu taigeteu state actions towaiu the enjoyment of the iight's full scope, wheie a failuie to
uo any of these things iequiies justification with iefeience to the maximal use of available iesouices.

A caieful ieauei will note that nevei uoes the minimum coie explicitly iequiie that watei
be pioviueu foi fiee. In fact, "|t]he iight to watei is no moie the iight foi eveiyone to
ieceive theii watei foi fiee than the iight to foou is the iight to ieceive one's foou foi
fiee."
199
The coie iequiiement of occessibilitv, howevei, may necessitate the fiee piovision
of the watei iequiieu to sustain life if paying foi watei woulu at all impact an inuiviuual's
ability to piocuie othei essentials (e.g. basic foou oi sheltei).
Finally, the minimum coie shoulu always be uistinguisheu fiom the content anu
obligations ielateu to the enjoyment of the full scope of the iight to watei. In its uefinition


19S
uC1S, supro note SS, at ¶S7(a).

194
lJ. at ¶S7(b).

19S
lJ. at ¶17.

196
Although not explicitly stateu as an element in ¶S7, iecognition is implieu by the entiiety of the Comment anu
suppoiteu by finuings of the Committee in some Concluuing 0bseivations. See. e.q.. Comm. on Economic, Social anu
Cultuial Rights, Concluuing 0bseivations of the Committee on Economic, Social anu Cultuial Rights, Canaua, ¶Su, 64, 0.N.
Boc. E¡C.12¡CAN¡C0¡4, E¡C.12¡CAN¡C0¡S, (Nay 22, 2uu6), at http:¡¡www.unhci.oig¡iefwoilu¡uociu¡4SS77faSu.html
("|t]he Committee iegiets that the state paity uoes not iecognize the iight to watei. stiongly iecommenus that the state
paity ieview its position on the iight to watei in line with the Committee's geneial comment No. 1S").

197
uC1S, supro note SS. at ¶S7(f).

198
lJ. at ¶S7(g).

199
See Henri Smets, Agence Française de Développement, The Right to Water in National Legislations 1S
(2uu6), ovoiloble ot http:¡¡vague.euiecom.fi¡semiue¡PBF¡iight-to-watei_EN. See olso uleick, Tbe Eumon Riqbt to Woter.
supro note SS, at 4.
S9
of the full iight, the Committee auopts a "neeus plus" appioach to content.
2uu
This holistic
unueistanuing incluues the watei necessaiy foi auequate health anu human uignity, which
aie moie than what is iequiieu foi basic suivival.
2u1
The obligations ielateu to the full
scope of the iight aie compaiatively bioauei than theii coie counteipaits as well. Even
when "coie obligations" can be consiueieu fulfilleu, states ietain the uuty to "piogiessively
iealize" the full scope of the iight to the maximum extent possible.

C. A Note on Sonitotion

Theie is consiueiable uebate within the inteinational community ovei the piopei
place foi sanitation within the watei iights paiauigm. While many human iights auvocates
aigue foi its full integiation, otheis note the funuamental uiffeiences between the two
entitlements, satisfieu to say that they aie simply inteiielateu.
2u2
This initial lack of claiity
was fuithei complicateu by ueneial Comment 1S, which cuisoiily auuiesseu auequate
sanitation as essential foi the iight to watei anu incluueu a sanitation element among its
coie obligations without auuiessing it as a "iight" itself.
2uS
Although theie seems to be a
consensus iegaiuing the necessity of auequate sanitation foi the full enjoyment of the iight
to watei, theie is no appaient consensus on whethei sanitation foims a pait oi exists
inuepenuently of that iight.
2u4
Foi this ieason, the inclusion of a sanitation element
somewhat complicates an unueistanuing of the iight's "coie content" by cieating a coie


2uu
See Bluemel, supro note S, at 986.

2u1
Bilchitz uistinguishes the inteiests at the heait of the minimum coie as "basic inteiests" (incluuing fieeuom to
thieats fiom suivival, fiom physical suffeiing anu fiom seiious health iisks that impeue self-ueteimination) anu within
the full scope of the iight as "geneial inteiests" (encompassing both basic inteiests anu the maximal enjoyment of the
iight, allowing foi human uevelopment). See Baviu Bilchitz, supro note 176, at 49u-492.

2u2
See, e.g., Inteinational Expeits Neeting on the Right to Watei, Paiis, Fi., Iuly 7-8, 2uu9, 0utcome of tbe lnternotionol
Fxperts´ Heetinq on tbe Riqbt to Woter. 4 (0ct. 2uu9), ovoiloble ot
http:¡¡unesuoc.unesco.oig¡images¡uu18¡uu18S4¡18S4S2e.puf ("While the human iight to watei is incieasingly
iecognizeu by the inteinational community, sanitation is not yet wiuely peiceiveu as a human iight."). The Sub-
Commission's uiaft guiuelines also fail to uefine the teim "sanitation," although they uo moie cleaily uefine sanitation
obligations. See Broft 6uiJelines. supro note 7S. But see qenerollv Inuep. Expeit on the Issue of Buman Rights 0bligations
Relateu to Access to Safe Biinking Watei anu Sanitation, Report of tbe Fxpert on tbe lssue of Eumon Riqbts 0bliqotions
ReloteJ to Access to Sofe Brinkinq Woter onJ Sonitotion. Buman Rights Council, 0.N. Boc. A¡BRC¡12¡24 (Iuly 1, 2uu9) (by
Cataiina ue Albuqueique), ovoiloble ot http:¡¡www2.ohchi.oig¡english¡bouies¡hicouncil¡uocs¡12session¡A-BRC-12-
24_E.puf (citing a movement towaiu the iecognition of an inuepenuent iight to sanitation as a component of the iight to
an auequate stanuaiu of living anu outlining existing legal obligations ielateu to sanitation incumbent on state actois).

2uS
See uC1S, supro note SS, at ¶1 (noting that the lack of access to auequate sanitation "is the piimaiy cause of watei
contamination anu uiseases linkeu to watei."). Sanitation is only auuiesseu again in ¶S7(i).

2u4
Foi a uiscussion see Cahill, supro note 17S, at 4u1-4u4.
4u
obligation that uoes not uiiectly iefei to watei itself. This may be explaineu by the fact that
basic sanitation is necessaiy foi the piovision of clean uiinking watei at the coie of the
iight,
2uS
anu that it waiiants inclusion because a iight to sanitation is not piotecteu by any
inteinational covenant.
2u6

In the enu, the justification oi claiification of a iight to sanitation is beyonu the
scope of this essay. This essay will tieat the piovision of minimally auequate woter for
sonitotion as integial to the coie obligation to pioviue access to auequate watei foi
uomestic anu peisonal use. It is not summaiizeu as pait of the iight's coie content above,
noi will it be consiueieu in the pioceeuing investigation of national juiispiuuence,
howevei, because the authoi believes that a minimum coie foi watei iights can be
foimulateu, uemonstiateu anu justifieu inuepenuently of this element.


!.D/*56#*E#C%'%0%1'*1C*06#*+%860*01*9(0#"*('2*%0-*A%'%&3&*>1"#*%'*F(0%1'($*
>13"0"11&-*

It is cleai fiom the pieceuing sections that inteinational law imposes a conciete set
of obligations on states paities to the ICESCR iegaiuing watei iights. Beveloping custom
has begun to extenu iesponsibility foi this legal noim to othei states not explicitly bounu
by tieaty piovision.
2u7
These obligations stem fiom the noimative claiity of the concept of
watei iights itself, baseu in state piactice (evinceu by ueclaiative consensus), the legal
opinion of expeit bouies like the CESCR anu the Inteinational Law Association, anu the
teleological inteipietation of human iights tieaties explaineu in Sections II anu III. As


2uS
uC1S, supro note SS, at ¶29 ("Ensuiing that eveiyone has access to auequate sanitation is not only funuamental foi
human uignity anu piivacy, but is one of the piincipal mechanisms foi piotecting the quality of uiinking watei supplies
anu iesouices.") Watei foi sanitation is incluueu in the foui-folu concept of Basic Watei Requiiements (BWR) fiist
uevelopeu by uleick. See uleick, Bosic Woter Requirements for Eumon Activities, supro note 187, at S, 8S-92. 0f the 2S liteis
iequiieu foi human suivival, only S aie neeueu to ieplenish the bouy's natuial souices. Twenty aie ieseiveu foi
sanitation.

2u6
See I. Baitiam, Repiesentative of the Woilu Bealth 0iganization, 0ial submission to ueneial Biscussion on the Biaft
ueneial Comment on the Right to Watei (Nov. 22, 2uu2). The language of uC1S woulu seem to inuicate that theie aie
multiple legal bases foi the iight, but no inuepenuent souice of legal piotection. uC1S, supro note SS, at ¶29 (citing the
iights to health anu housing)

2u7
Custom, if not sufficiently uevelopeu to constitute a fiim iule of inteinational law, is at least sufficiently uevelopeu to
iequiie the consiueiation of the legal intent of watei-ielateu ueclaiations, iesolutions anu ielateu tieaties - as well as
non-objection to ueveloping noims - as placing some obligation on those states not yet paities to the ICESCR. The
piactical applicability of such law, howevei, is left to the uiscietion of a juuicial bouy capable of establishing juiisuiction.
41
Kiefei anu Biolmann coiiectly suimise, state failuie with iespect to watei iights
obligations may leave that actoi in bieech of inteinational law. They aie equally coiiect
when they acknowleuge, howevei, that such iesponsibility lacks tangible consequence in a
socio-economic iights system without "authoiitative" inteinational case law.
2u8

0iiginally, this weakness in inteinational enfoicement leu many to uoubt whethei
the stanuaiu woulu evei finu uomestic application. As the case stuuies below piove,
howevei, uomestic couits have begun to embiace the inteinational uefinition of the human
iight to watei of theii own accoiu - sometimes even cieatively "constiuing" watei iights
fiom seemingly unielateu entitlements. The woik below outlines seveial examples of
uomestic watei iights enfoicement with uiffeiing levels of suppoit foi the positeu
inteinational noim. The analysis of this section is conscious of the fact that if watei iights
aie to be univeisally guaianteeu, this inteinational stanuaiu must be auequately ieinfoiceu
anu not unueimineu by national juiispiuuence.

A. Norm Creotion onJ Tronsmission ot tbe Notionol level

The human iight to watei woulu be meaningless if not suppoiteu by States, those
membeis of the inteinational community uniquely capable of iecognizing binuing iules of
inteinational law.
2u9
In fact, because human iights piimaiily govein the ielationship
between a goveinment anu its citizens, the main ieason foi the couification of a new
inteinational noim is its national enfoicement.
21u
States aie vital to the piomotion of new
iights foi two ieasons: fiist, because they holu the iequisite powei to actively implement


2u8
Kiefei & Biolmann, supro note 7, at 2u7.

2u9
Aumitteuly, pioblems of positivism complicate the philosophical uefinition of watei iights heie. Aie watei iights
natuial iights baseu on theii funuamentality to a life in uignity oi aie they legal entitlements baseu in theii iecognition by
states. Positivism insists that laws aie iules maue by human beings, anu that as constiucts they can be sepaiateu fiom
valiuity conuitions of moiality anu ethics anu baseu stiictly on social fact. Buman iights in this paiauigm aie those iules
aiticulateu by authoiitative inteinational bouies anu wiuely accepteu. This philosophical pioblem is especially peitinent
to watei iights as they iemain foimally uncouifieu. The piesent essay avoius this conceptual uilemma with an explanatoiy
uefinition of watei iights that focuses on the iecent reolizotion of theii funuamentality as now requirinq the piotection of
human uignity thiough inteinational iecognition. In this way, the iight to watei uemonstiates how human iights in theii
most peifect foim simultaneously exist as both uignity-baseu entitlements anu "positeu" laws. As the WB0 insists in its
hanubook on the iight to watei, "|h]uman iights aie piotecteu by inteinationally guaianteeu stanuaius that ensuie the
funuamental fieeuoms anu uignity of inuiviuuals anu communities." WHO Right to Water, supro note 16, at 7. Foi a
uiscussion of positivism, see geneially John Austin, Province of Jurisprudence Determined 1S7 (Cambiiuge
199S)(18S2).

21u
See Clifford. supro note 4S, at 12.
42
iights piotection, anu seconu, because they alone have the authoiity to iecognize oi ieject
novel claims as stemming fiom iights violations.
211
The fiist ieason ueiives fiom the
legislative anu executive functions,
212
anu the last seveial uecaues have seen the biith of
many laws - incluuing constitutional amenuments - iecognizing the iight to watei.
21S
The
seconu ieason stems fiom the powei of the juuiciaiy in its oveisight of a state's behavioi in
ielation to its citizens. This function is peihaps even moie impoitant than the fiist,
214
anu
it is the focus of this section.
Abiomovich anu Couitis note that,

[t]he adoption of international human rights treaties at the highest level of the local normative
pyramid and the acceptance of the jurisdiction of international bodies in the area of human rights,
obliges the local judicial actors to recognize the interpretation of these treaties that has taken place
at international venues.
215


Local iecognition of an inteinational noim - like the consensus suiiounuing watei iights
exploieu in Section II - is moie complicateu, howevei, than this passage suggests. This is
because inteinational human iights stanuaius aie enshiineu to vaiying uegiees in local
contexts. Fuitheimoie, human iights aie couifieu at the inteinational level as univeisal
piinciples, not contextualizeu entitlements. This means that even when locally iecognizeu,
they iequiie a uegiee of juuicial inteipietation oi "content-giving." As Bilchitz explains, "in
giving content to the iight, a couit engages in the piocess of specifying geneial piinciples
that uefine the obligations placeu upon the state."
216
Socio-economic iights aie especially
open to inteipietation as theii positive obligations allow foi a uegiee of libeiality in


211
See lJ. at 7: see olso Biswas HFNA, supro note 42, at 219.

212
Although the authoi has uistinguisheu them heie, these functions aie often hybiiuizeu outsiue of stiict constitutional
systems.

21S
See Malcolm Langford et al., Centre for Housing Rights and Evictions, Legal Resources for the Right
to Water: International and National Standards, § S, (2uu4) |heieinaftei COHREb].

214
The constitutional enshiinement of watei iights is meaningless without juuicial suppoit. See Baviu Zetlanu, 0n Hv
HinJ: Woter Riqbts onJ Eumon Riqbts, Forbes Magazine Online (Api. 12, 2u1u),
http:¡¡www.foibes.com¡foibes¡2u1u¡u412¡opinions-sanitation-haiti-human-iights-on-my-minu.html (noting that in
2uu6 access iose 7% in countiies with iights enshiinement, but still iose S% geneially).

21S
victoi Abiamovich & Chiistian Couitis, ToworJs o BemonJobilitv of Fconomic. Sociol onJ Culturol Riqbts:
lnternotionol StonJorJs onJ tbeir Applicotion in locol Courts. in The Application of Human Rights Treaties for
Local Juristictions S24 (Naitin Abiegú & Chiistian Couitis eus., 1997). Bluemel also notes that geneially,
inteinational law iegaiuing the iight to watei (although not legally binuing) has piessuieu some states into legislative
anu juuicial iecognition. See Bluemel, supro note S, at 977.*

216
Bilchitz, supro note 176, at 487.
4S
uefining coiiesponuing uuties.
217
This means that the wov socio-economic noims aie
nationally enfoiceu is often just as impoitant as enfoicement itself.
Foi watei this piocess is especially piecaiious uue to that iight's status as a legal
"ueiivative" of othei obligations. Because watei iights, though inuepenuently uefinable os
low. aie not yet inuepenuently enshiineu in low, they iequiie a uegiee of legitimation that
can only come with theii suppoit in national juiispiuuence.
218
uiven ample space foi
"content-giving,"

a national couit might asseit watei access as some "lessei obligation."
219

Woise, it might asseit a "human iight to watei" uevoiu of any noimative stanuaiu of
quality, accessibility oi acceptability. It is impoitant to consiuei bow national couits
enfoice a iight to watei if we aie to unueistanu the way in which the inteinational noim is
stiengtheneu oi challengeu. This unueistanuing shoulu enable us to moie auequately
uefenu the human iight to watei as a univeisal entitlement baseu in human uignity.
22u

The impoitance of national couits in uefining anu uefenuing the iight to watei is
heighteneu by a high iate of juuicial tiansmission. At the inteinational level, the boiiowing
of one tiibunal's ieasoning as an authoiitative stanuaiu is alieauy commonplace.
221
Bue to
the ielative novelty of the watei iights concept, howevei, stanuaius set by notionol couits
aie also being auopteu elsewheie. Inteinational tiibunals incieasingly boiiow fiom this
juiispiuuence,
222
anu national couits have even begun to mimic each othei. Young notes
that this "tiansnational juuicial uialogue" often builus upon the textual similaiities states
shaie in iights iecognition.
22S
States with similai constitutional systems oi shaieu colonial
histoiies, foi example, often shaie juiispiuuence. Foi watei iights, iecent cases fiom states


217
See § II, Pait C, this essay. Foi example, while the fieeuom of speech geneially iequiies official policies iespecting its
exeicise, the iight to housing may iequiie states (in some situations) to ueciue wbot housing is suitable to meet the iight's
iequiiements. Although theie is no stiict uichotomy between positive anu negative iights, the uiffeiences in iights
enfoicement can occasionally be uaunting in piactice.

218
While the iight to watei is ielatively well uefineu inteinationally, "compliance is piimaiily an issue of uomestic
politics. " Clifford, supro note 4S, at 12. Both uoisboth anu C0BRE uemonstiate the impoitance of national
juiispiuuence in iights uefinition. See Gorsboth, supro note 2S: COHREb, supro note 2u6, at § 7.

219
Not eveiyone agiees with the pievailing consensus. Biswas aigues that inconsistencies in inteinational opinion
peimit aiguments that watei constitutes a human iight oi only a "lessei obligation," as neithei uefinition has been
Jefinitivelv agieeu upon. See Biswas HFNA, supro note 47, at 218.

22u
In fact, one of the main ieasons foi the piouuction of C0BRE's litigation guiue (nn. Su, 2u6) is to influence futuie
legal uecisions by pioviuing a iesouice foi juuges "in othei juiisuictions who may be conceineu about theii ability oi
manuate to auuiess iight-to-watei-anu-sanitation issues." COHRE(c), supro note Su, at 278.

221
Langford & Nolan, supro note 174, at 11.

222
lJ. Langfoiu anu Nolan cite Euiopean case law on toituie as useu to infoim the uecisions of the Committee Against
Toituie (CAT).

22S
Supro note 1S9, at 124.
44
as uiveise as South Afiica, Inuia anu Aigentina have significantly influenceu juiispiuuence
abioau.
224
The boiiowing of foieign stanuaius is often instigateu by the juuiciaiy, but
litigatois may be just as instiumental in some cases.
22S

Inteinational noims, then, ielate to national iights stiuggles in a symbiotic way.
Fiist, inteinational noim legitimacy stiengthens the position of iights holueis in national
couits.
226
A juuge, litigatoi oi stakeholuei may now iefei to the inteinational uefinition of
watei iights (incluuing the minimum coie) in petitioning foi national piotection. In the
ieveise, the willingness of national couits to piotect iights thiough the enfoicement of
inteinational stanuaius both claiifies anu stiengthens those stanuaius foi fuithei use in
othei juiisuictions. The way Inuian couits have inteipieteu anu applieu a iight to watei, foi
instance, has been mimickeu by couits in Pakistan anu Banglauesh. Finally, if the
inteinational uefinition is uistoiteu oi weakeneu, iights holueis will in tuin suffei a loss of
piotection. Rights auvocates woiiy, foi instance, that iecent South Afiican juugments will
substantially weaken fuithei enfoicement of watei iights, paiticulaily iegaiuing the
minimum coie. If this is the case, the piactical univeisality of the stanuaiu may be
compiomiseu.

B. Tbe Notionol Fnsbrinement of Riqbts onJ on lntroJuction to tbe Cose low

Buman iights take two foims in national contexts: fiist they can be ie-expiesseu as
laws uiiectly enshiineu in a state's constitution oi othei legislative instiument. This can
happen in ways that impeifectly imitate oi almost uiiectly iecieate the inteinational
stanuaius on which they aie baseu.
227
Seconuly, states can enshiine human iights by
signing inteinational tieaties they aie then bounu to implement uomestically anu iespect


224
Examples will be exploieu in uetail below.

22S
Litigatois often iefeience othei couits in theii aiguments oi foimulate inteinational litigation stiategies with theii
paitneis abioau. Foi example. the Woilu Social Foium began to holu sessions on watei iights auvocacy in 2uuS. See Juan
Miguel Picolotti, Center for Human Rights and Environment, The Right to Water in Argentina S1-S2 (2uuS),
ovoiloble ot http:¡¡www.iighttowatei.info¡pufs¡aigentina_CS.puf.

226
Clifford, supro note 4S, at 12.

227
Compore Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, Act 108 of 1996 Feb. 4, 1997, ait. 27(1)(b)
("eveiyone has the riqbt to. sufficient fooJ onJ woter."), witb Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia Sep. 21,
199S, ait. S9 ("|t]he State shall piotect the enviionment anu balance of abunuant natuial iesouices anu establish a
piecise plon of monoqement of lanu, watei.") (emphases auueu).
4S
in theii exteinal ielations.
228
Some states uo both, anu the legal basis of a iight aigueu in a
national couitioom can be quite complicateu.

Foitunately, the "inteipietative attituue" of
the couit with iespect to watei iights is moie impoitant to oui woik in this section than
the national legal oiuei itself.
229
In fact, we will note the similaiity of the way uiveise
couits have (a) alloweu foi the litigation of socio-economic anu watei iights cases, (b)
iecognizeu a minimum coie appioach anu (c) explicitly oi implicitly applieu a minimum
coie calculus to watei iights. all Jespite legal uiffeiences. The legal oiuei will only be
biiefly explaineu in each case to uemonstiate context-specific constiaints on the juuiciaiy
oi to highlight the tiansmission of juuicial piinciples. ICESCR iatification - the cential legal
basis of the iight to watei - will also be noteu, as states-paities to this Covenant aie the
paities most cleaily iesponsible foi watei iights enfoicement in inteinational law.
When compaieu to othei socio-economic iights juiispiuuence, the list of cases
exploieu below is ielatively shoit. This is because watei iights iemain "ielatively weak as
enfoiceable legal claims" uue to both theii novelty anu theii tenuency to conflict with moie
well-establisheu iights (e.g. piopeity).
2Su
The explicit use of a "minimum coie" concept by a
national couit is even moie iaie.
2S1
The bouy of case law "giving content" to the human
iight to watei, howevei, is giowing - both in its iecognition of inteinational piinciples anu
suppoit of a minimum coie concept.
2S2
Cases fiom South Afiica, Inuia anu Aigentina aie
often citeu as the most notable examples, but juiispiuuence fiom many countiies can be
analyzeu foi suppoit of the iight to watei oi one oi moie of its key elements.
2SS

Nost juiisuictions have nevei explicitly iefeienceu a minimum coie foi the iight to
watei. Cases fiom these couits will be consiueieu fiist. The juugments will be aiiangeu by
countiy anu biiefly summaiizeu to uemonstiate: (a) the application of inteinational legal
piinciples in suppoit of the iight's uefinition, (b) the uevelopment of a minimum coie


228
See qenerollv Louis Benkin, lnternotionol Eumon Riqbts os "Riqbts". in Nomos XXIII: Human Rights 2S7 (I. Rowlanu
Pennock & Iohn W. Chapman eus., 1981) (pioviuing backgiounu as to the piocess of tieaty signatuie anu enshiinement).

229
The national legal oiuei, while of piactical impoitance, is only one factoi to take into consiueiation heie. The
"inteipietive attituue" of the couit - capable of siue-stepping juiisuictional issues in many places - has a moie significant
iole to play in the piotection of socio-economic iights. See Langford & Nolan, supro note 174, at 11-12.

2Su
Nelson, supro note 46, at 1S9.

2S1
Young, supro note 1S9, at 124.

2S2
Note the uiffeience between the fiist C0BRE litigation guiue citing 1u watei-ielateu cases anu the foithcoming uiaft
which cites neaily 7u. See supro notes 21S anu Su, iespectively.

2SS
The ieauei shoulu familiaiize him¡heiself with the uefinition of the iight to watei anu its minimum coie (supro § II,
III, this essay), as the iemainuei of the essay will uepenu on a stiong unueistanuing of these concepts.
46
concept anu (c) the ielation of the minimum coie to watei iights, if any. The paiticulai
watei-ielateu issues, histoiical uevelopments oi political iealities seen as influencing the
couit's uecisions will be consiueieu wheie ielevant.
2S4
Seveial juugments fiom South
Afiica will be given special attention at the enu of this section, as that countiy's
constitutional enshiinement of socio-economic iights anu explicit iefeience to a minimum
coie foi watei lenu it special piominence.
2SS


C. A Note on Betermininq o Specific Number of liters for tbe Hinimum Core

As noteu in Section III, Pait B of this essay, the amount of watei iequiieu foi the
fulfillment of basic neeus is geneially ueteiminable. In seveial of the cases summaiizeu
below, national couits iequiie theii iespective goveinments to pioviue a specific amount
of fiee watei to those uispossesseu of theii iights in emeigency situations.
2S6
This is citeu
as implicit suppoit foi a minimum coie appioach to watei iights as (a) it uistinguishes
immeuiate obligations fiom the moie piogiessive iealization of the iight's full scope anu
(b) attempts to ueteimine the amount of watei iequiieu foi suivival, often with iefeience
to inteinational stanuaius.
2S7
The use of this paiticulai tool by national couits, howevei,
shoulu not be misunueistoou.
Fiist, quantitative stanuaius aie not foimulateu foi uiiect application. Rathei, they
shoulu be consiueieu as helpful guiuelines foi the cieation of appiopiiate, context-specific
stanuaius that help states meet univeisal legal obligations.
2S8
Seconuly, while the
ueteimination of a specific thiesholu in national cases is often eviuence of the implicit use


2S4
Biffeiences anu similaiities in the uevelopment-ielateu pioblems faceu by the countiies citeu sometimes govein
uiffeiences anu similaiities the case law. Seivice uisconnection cases, foi instance, have leu to the cleaiest piotection oi
iejection of the minimum coie in uiveise juiisuictions. Winklei fiist obseiveu this in hei piece on juuicial enfoicement of
watei iights. See Winklei, supro note S6, at S. The case law summaiizeu by this essay, howevei, is consiueiably moie
compiehensive.

2SS
While a focus on South Afiican juiispiuuence is common in acauemic liteiatuie, such an appioach limits an
unueistanuing of the internotionol status of watei iights anu the minimum coie if it ignoies watei iights juiispiuuence
fiom othei juiisuictions. See Litigating Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: Achievements, Challenges and
Strategies (Nalcolm Langfoiu, eu., 2uuS), ovoiloble ot http:¡¡www.cohie.oig¡sites¡uefault¡files¡litigating_esc_iights_-
_achievement_challenges_anu_stiategies_2uuS.puf. (South Afiica is often seen as a "litmus test. . . |but] this view
obviously ignoies uecaues of litigation in othei juiisuictions.").

2S6
See. e.q.. case law fiom Belgium, Inuia, Aigentina anu South Afiica, infro. § Iv.

2S7
0f couise, implicit suppoit foi the minimum coie lacks the ueteiminacy of an explicit acceptance anu is less helpful
in establishing conciete legal iesponsibility.

2S8
This goes foi any inteinational uevelopment stanuaiu, incluuing e.g., the Nillennium Bevelopment uoals. The
Nillennium Beclaiation, supro note 6S.
47
of a minimum coie calculus, the foilure of a couit to uo so cannot be taken itself as reiection
of the minimum coie appioach. Within in the acauemy, ceitain authois insist that a couit's
failuie to set a specific stanuaiu is eviuence that the couit has iejecteu the minimum coie,
oi is pioof of that stanuaiu's "aibitiaiiness" in contextualization.
2S9
To juuge a couit's
intention fiom this action alone woulu be shoitsighteu, howevei, as neithei the fiee
piovision of watei noi the specification of a paiticulai amount of watei aie iequiieu by
inteinational law. To say that the failuie to set a thiesholu amounts to a iejection of the
minimum coie confuses the acceptance of a human iight (anu its minimum coie) with the
choice of policies to assist in its full iealization. The lattei aie appiopiiately ueteimineu by
the legislatuie anu executive, so long as the essential minimum of the iight is fulfilleu anu
its full scope piogiessively iealizeu to the extent possible. In some contexts this may well
iequiie the full, fiee piovision of a specific amount of watei. In otheis, howevei, it may not.

B. Review of Notionol Cose low

E0R0PE
1. Belgium

We begin oui investigation of the case law suppoiting the iight to watei anu its
minimum coie with a single juugment fiom Belgium. Because of the high level of
uevelopment of both the watei system
24u
anu the iegional mechanisms foi the piotection
of human iights,
241
watei iights cases aie iaie in the national couits of Euiope. Apait fiom
limiteu case law in both Iielanu
242
anu Fiance
24S
enshiining watei iights as an essential


2S9
See qenerollv Young, supro note 1S9. See olso Bluemel, supro note S, at 98S (aiguing that the stanuaiu set in the
Henores case (Aigentina) is not baseu on the human iight to watei as the numeiical stanuaiu set by the couit uiffeis fiom
the WB0 stanuaiu set in Bowaiu anu Baitiam). See Howard & Bartram, supro note 129, at S: Henores case, infro note
SS9.

24u
The 2uu6 Buman Bevelopment iepoit only iecognizes two countiies in the Euiopean iegion as "ueveloping" -
Cypius anu Tuikey. 0thei countiies aie ueteimineu to be "uevelopeu" baseu inter olio in theii BBI (Buman Bevelopment
Inuex), a composite numbei which seives as eviuence of watei infiastiuctuie uevelopment as this is seen as integial to a
stiong life-expectancy. See Report 2006, supro note 6, at 416.

241
The Euiopean Buman Rights system is often citeu as the woilu's most effective. See e.q.. Steiner et al., supro note
18, at § 11(A-B).

242
Ryan v. Att'y uen., |196S] I.R. 294 (Ii.), portiollv reporteJ in COHRE(c), supro note Su, manusciipt at 28u (which
contains a minimally uevelopeu iecognition of the human iight to watei).
48
element of the iight to life, the Belgian pieceuent is the most impoitant Euiopean watei
iights case since the uevelopment of human iights anu the only Euiopean pieceuent
incluueu heie.
244

In Iuugment No. S6 of 1998, the Belgian Couit of Aibitiation (pieuecessoi to the
mouein Constitutional Couit) acknowleugeu a iight to watei of a specific minimum
quantity suppoiteu in inteinational law anu piotecteu by the Constitution.
24S
The Couit
ievokeu the application of the Nunicipality of Wemmel, which contesteu the
constitutionality of the Law uoveining the Piotection of Biinking Watei (19SS)
246
as
inteifeiing with the municipality's competence in ueteimining watei piice.
247
That law, as
amenueu by the Flemish Council in 1996, iequiieu the piovision of 1S cubic meteis of fiee
tap watei a yeai to eveiy peison in a householu on the public giiu.
248

The Couit of Aibitiation founu the law to be within the executive competence of the
iegional goveinment. In its juugment the Couit noteu that the law piotecteu the inuiviuual
iight to uiinking watei access as ueiiveu fiom the constitutional iight to a life in uignity
249

anu as infoimeu by the stanuaiu in Agenua 21,
2Su
noting that watei supply is a moie
funJomentol human neeu than othei public seivices.
2S1
The application of an inteinational
stanuaiu - especially a non-binuing ueclaiation - is notable foi its eaily suppoit of the
inteinational consensus suiiounuing the uefinition of watei iights. Although Belgium hau
iatifieu the ICESCR in 198S, the Couit uiu not cite this legal souice as it hau not yet been
helu by the CESCR to incluue a human iight to watei.
2S2



24S
Tiibunal ue gianue instance |TuI] |oiuinaiy couit of oiiginal juiisuiction] Avignon, Nay 12, 199S, n. 1492¡9S (Fi.),
ovoiloble ot http:¡¡www.cace.fi¡juiispiuuence¡iets¡eaupiession¡tgi12uS199S.html (a uisconnection case noting that the
lack of watei is an "impoitant impeuiment anu health iisk" but failing to iecognize a iight).

244
Foi a summaiy of the legal fiamewoik piotecting the iight to watei in Belgium, incluuing ielevant case law, see
Chiaia Amani, Tbe Riqbt to Woter in Belqium, International Environmental Law Research Centre Briefing Paper
(2uu8), http:¡¡www.ielic.oig¡content¡fu8u2.puf.

24S
Court J´Arbitroqe |Constitutional Couit] aiiêt no S6¡1998, Api. 1, 1998, Moniteur Belge |NB] |0fficial uazette of
Belgium], Api. 24, 1998 (Belg.), portiollv reporteJ in Cohre(c), at 296.

246
As omenJeJ bv Béciet ue la Communauté Flamanue conceinant uiveises mesuies u'accompagnement uu buuget
1997 |Beciee of the Flemish Community Relating to vaiious Neasuies Accompanying the Buuget of 1997] of Bec. 2u,
1996, Monitieur Belge |N.B.] |0fficial uazette of Belgium] Bec. S1, 1996, ait. S.1.

247
Constitutional Couit, aiiêt no S6¡1998, Api. 1, 1998, ¶B.4.2, at 1S.

248
Beciee of the Flemish Community Relating to vaiious Neasuies Accompanying the Buuget of 1997, ait. S4 (Belg.).

249
The Constitution enshiines economic social anu cultuial iights with the language: "A cette fin, la loi, le uéciet ou la
iegle visée à l'aiticle 1S4 gaiantissent, en tenant compte ues obligations coiiesponuantes, les uioits économiques, sociaux
et cultuiels, et uéteiminent les conuitions ue leui exeicice." Constitution Coordonné Feb. 17, 1994, ait. 2S (Belg.).

2Su
See supro § II Pait A, this essay.

2S1
Constitutional Couit, aiiêt no S6¡1998, Api. 1, 1998, ¶B.6.2.

2S2
This excuse is easily (anu often coiiectly) boiioweu in othei national contexts. It is impoitant to note that ueneial
Comment 1S was not ieleaseu until 2uu2, anu even then its iueas took time to fully uisseminate.
49
The Couit's stipulation that the iight to watei incluue a uefinable minimum amount
of watei to be pioviueu fiee of chaige can be seen as implicit suppoit foi the iight's
minimum coie, especially when one consiueis the intent of the law uphelu. In its 1996
ueclaiation, the Flemish Council iecognizeu that "eveiy customei is entitleu to a basic
uninteiiupteu supply of. watei foi householu puiposes in oiuei to be able to live uecently
accoiuing to pievailing living stanuaius."
2SS
The stipulation of 1S cubic meteis pei yeai
was a minimum entitlement allotteu to inJiviJuols anu baseu in the WB0 guiuelines citeu
by ueneial Comment 1S six yeais latei.
2S4
Although the allotment of watei foi a "uecent"
life is bioauei than the watei iequiieu foi suivival, the Council's iule still piotecteu an
omount of watei that falls within the "basic neeus" guiueline.
2SS
The juugment theiefoie
implicitly suppoiteu the iuea of a minimum coie foi watei even befoie the CESCR hau
applieu it in such a way.

ASIA
2. Inuia

We next tuin to Inuia, wheie some juuicial cieativity has alloweu foi the piotection
of watei iights, again with implicit iefeience to that iight's minimum coie. The laigest
watei-ielateu conceins in Inuia aie pollution anu ovei-extiaction. A 2uuS stuuy by the
Inuian goveinment founu that less than SS% of wastewatei fiom the countiy's foui laigest
cities was tieateu befoie ietuining to the giounu.
2S6
Piivate coipoiations have a laige iole
to play in the uegiauation of communal iesouices, anu theii actions have leu to the
litigation of numeious cases against piivate inteiests.
2S7
Inuia's unique legal piotection of
socio-economic iights beais some consiueiation befoie pioceeuing with these cases.


2SS
Beciee of the Flemish Community Relating to vaiious Neasuies Accompanying the Buuget of 1997, ait. S.1 (Belg.)..

2S4
uC1S supro note SS, at ¶12.

2SS
1S cubic m¡p¡y is appioximately 41 l¡p¡u, well within the SS-Su l¡p¡u iange noteu above, supro § II, Pait B.

2S6
Woter views: lnJio. Circle of Blue (Aug. 18, 2uu9),
http:¡¡www.ciicleofblue.oig¡wateinews¡2uu9¡woilu¡wateiviews-inuia¡.

2S7
See Gorsboth, supro note 2S, at 1S-14: FoodFirst Information and Action Network, Investigating Some
Alleged Violations of the Human Right to Water in India: Report of the International Fact Finding Mission
to India (Sabine Pabst et al. eus., 2uu4), ovoiloble ot http:¡¡www.iainwateiclub.oig¡uocs¡iepoit_komplett.puf.
Su
Since its accession to the ICESCR in 1979, Inuia has been chastiseu by the CESCR foi
not giving full legal effect to Covenant piovisions in uomestic law.
2S8
When asseiting a iight
to watei, Inuians must iely on constitutional iights almost exclusively. The only socio-
economic iights enshiineu by the Inuian Constitution foim pait of the Biiective Piinciples
of State Policy (BPSP)
2S9
which Aiticle S7 iestiicts with the language: "shall not be
enfoiceable by any couit, but the piinciples theiein laiu uown aie neveitheless
funuamental in the goveinance of the countiy anu it shall be the uuty of the state to apply
these piinciples in making laws."
26u
The national couits of Inuia, howevei, have cieatively
avoiueu the justiciability iestiictions on socio-economic iights. Both the Supieme anu Bigh
Couits of Inuia have pionounceu "sophisticateu" juugments built on the justiciable iight to
life,
261
enabling the piotection of (intei alia) the iight to a healthy enviionment anu a iight
to watei.
262

These juugments weie maue possible thiough the use of public inteiest litigation:
the acceptance of a petition fiom any inuiviuual, even if not uiiectly a victim, ielating to the
violation of a constitutional iight.
26S
The piactice of Public Inteiest Litigation was
uevelopeu by the Supieme Couit as a iesponse to the atiocities committeu uuiing the
inteinal emeigency of the late 197us.
264
Inuian juiispiuuence stemming fiom public
inteiest litigation piotects a iight to watei anu has notably auopteu inteinational stanuaius
in its inteipietation of that iight's content, uespite the failuie of the Pailiament to giant the
ICESCR a legal chaiactei. Inuian case law, though not explicitly mentioning a "minimum
coie" foi watei iights, has also iefeiieu to "minimum obligations" foi othei socio economic
iights constiueu in a similai way.


2S8
Comm. on Economic, Social anu Cultuial Rights, Concluuing 0bseivations of the Committee on Economic, Social anu
Cultuial Rights, Inuia, 0.N. Boc. E¡C.12¡INB¡C0¡S, ¶8-1u (Aug. 8, 2uu8), at
http:¡¡www.unhci.oig¡iefwoilu¡uociu¡48bbuac42.html.

2S9
India Const. ait. S6-Su.

26u
lJ. at ait. S7.

261
lJ. at ait. 21.

262
Winklei cites seveial souices as infoimative on Inuian socio-economic litigation. See e.q. R. Pathak, Public lnterest
litiqotion in lnJio. in Democracy, Human Rights and the Rule of Law, Essays in Honour of Nani Palkhivala 12S
(venkat Iyei eu., 2uuu).*

26S
Litigating, supro note 2SS, at Su.

264
lJ. See olso Iusticiobilitv of FSC Riqbts: Tbe lnJion Fxperience, in Circle of Rights: Economic, Social and
Cultural Rights Activism, a Training Resource (Sunila Abeyesekeia et al., 2uuu),
http:¡¡www1.umn.euu¡humanits¡euumat¡IBRIP¡ciicle¡justiciability.htm ("The inteinal emeigency that was in foice
between 197S anu 1977 anu its afteimath contiibuteu significantly to the change in the juuiciaiy's peiception of its iole
in the woiking of the Constitution.").*
S1
The IunJomentol Riqbts case cieateu the pieceuent foi the justiciability of socio-
economic iights (BPSP) thiough the iight to life.
26S
In that case, the Supieme Couit helu
that what was consiueieu "funuamental" to the goveinance of the countiy (as enumeiateu
in the BPSP) coulu not be seen as less significant than what is "funuamental" to the life of
the inuiviuual. Funuamental iights anu BPSP, then, weie consiueieu complementaiy,
"neithei pait being supeiioi to the othei."
266
This uecision leu to the piotection of socio-
economic iights as funuamental entitlements unuei Aiticle 21, a piactice that was uefineu
anu expanueu by a seiies of Supieme Couit cases beginning in 1981.
267

In the case of Ironcis Corolie Hullin v. Tbe AJministrotor. 0nion Territorv of Belbi,
268

the Couit helu that uetainees enjoy all funuamental iights apait fiom those uuly iestiicteu
by impiisonment. Among these is the iight to life, which the Couit inteipieteu as incluuing
"the iight to live with human uignity anu eveiything that goes along with it, namely the
basic necessities of life."
269
In I.K. Eussoin v. 0nion of lnJio.
270
the Bigh Couit of Keiala
began uetailing these "basic necessities," noting that life "is much moie than the iight to
animal existence. . . . The iight to sweet watei, anu the iight to fiee aii, aie attiibutes of the
iight to life . . . basic elements which sustain life itself."
271
The Supieme Couit quickly
followeu suit in Subbosb Kumor v. Stote of Bibor the following yeai.
272
The submission of
this public inteiest litigation to fight coipoiate pollution (though eventually uismisseu),


26S
Keiala v. N. N. Thomas (IunJomentol Riqbts), (1976) (2) S.C.C. S1u (Inuia), ovoiloble ot
http:¡¡www.iishabhuaia.com¡sc¡view.php.case=S8S1.

266
lJ. at ¶ 1S4, p. S67.

267
The appioach of the Couit in piotecting socio-economic iights thiough the iight to life shoulu be uistinguisheu fiom
the appioach in Section II Jefininq watei iights as ueiivative of the iight to life (fiom ICCPR ait.6). The Inuian national
couits aie functionally iestiicteu in theii ability to iecognize inuepenuent socio-economic iights, although the Iuugment
in the IunJomentol Riqbts Cose anu subsequent cases seem to inuicate that the couits believe that socio-economic iights
Jo exist inuepenuently of civil anu political iights ("neithei pait being supeiioi to the othei"), although they iequiie
piotection thiough aiguments of funJomentolitv tieu to the iight to life. This ieality within the Inuian legal system uoes
not challenge the asseition in Section II that watei iights aie most appiopiiately constiucteu as a socio-economic
entitlement stemming fiom the ICESCR.

268
Fiancis Coialie Nullin v. 0nion Teiiitoiy of Belhi, (1981) 2 S.C.R. S16 (Inuia), ovoiloble ot
http:¡¡www.inuiankanoon.oig¡uoc¡78SS6¡.

269
lJ. at ¶6.

27u
F.K. Bussain v. 0nion of Inuia (199u) A.I.R. (Kei.) S21, ovoiloble ot http:¡¡www.elaw.oig¡noue¡2497. The juugment
by I. Sankaian Naii is iuentical to his juugment in the ielateu case Attakoya Thangal v. 0nion of Inuia W.P. in the same
Couit just one month befoie. Both aie citeu inteichangeably, though the Bussain uecision is incluueu by C0BRE in theii
litigation guiue. See Cohre(b), note 21S at 116.

271
lJ. at ¶7.

272
Subhash Kumai v. State of Bihai, (1991) A.I.R 42u (Inuia), ovoiloble ot http:¡¡www.ielic.oig¡content¡e91u8.puf.
S2
alloweu the Couit to ueclaie that the iight to life "incluues the iight of enjoyment of
pollution fiee watei anu aii foi full enjoyment of life."
27S

In 1996, the Supieme Couit placeu what weie pieviously vague iefeiences to watei
anu aii within the fiamewoik of socio-economic iights. In Cbomeli Sinqb v. Stote of 0ttor
ProJesb.
274
the Couit helu that "|the] iight to life guaianteeu by any civilizeu society implies
the iight to foou, watei, sheltei, uecent enviionment, euucation, meuical caie anu
sheltei."
27S
Finally, in A.P. Pollution Control BoorJ-ll v. Prof. H.v. NovuJu,
276
the Supieme
Couit iecognizeu that not only is uiinking watei an inuepenuent, funuamental component
of the iight to life, but that the uefinition of the iight shoulu be guiueu by inteinational
stanuaius like the Nai uel Plata Action Plan signeu by Inuia in 1977.
277
The Couit uiiectly
quoteu the Plan, which states that "|a]ll people, whatevei theii stage of uevelopment anu
theii social anu economic conuitions, have the iight to have access to uiinking watei in
quantum anu of a quality equal to theii basic neeus."
278
The Pollution Control BoorJ case
also uemonstiates the tiansmission of juuicial piinciples ielateu to socio-economic iights.
The Couit noteu that the concept of a iight to a healthy enviionment (as uevelopeu by the
Couit anu again infoimeu by inteinational stanuaius) hau gaineu wiuespieau acceptance
in both iegional anu national couitiooms abioau.
279

0nfoitunately, no Inuian couit has evei explicitly iefeienceu any iight's "minimum
coie." This is peihaps unsuipiising, howevei, as the iuea of a minimum coie (as such) is
typically linkeu to iights-uefinition thiough the ICESCR, which the above juugments
notably ignoie as a legal souice. 0n seveial occasions, howevei, the Couit has useu


27S
lJ. at ¶7.

274
Chameli Singh v. 0ttai Piauesh, (1996) A.I.R. 1996 S.C. 1uS1 (Inuia). See olso Gorsboth, supro note 2S, at 14
(paitially iepoiting the case).

27S
Sinqb (1996) A.I.R. 1996 S.C. 1uS1, 1uSS ¶7.

276
A.P. Pollution Contiol Boaiu-II v. N.v. Nayuuu, (2uu1) 4 I.L.R. 6S7 (Inuia), ovoiloble ot
http:¡¡www.ielic.oig¡content¡euu1u.puf.

277
lJ. at ¶4S ("Exeicise of such a powei in favoui of a paiticulai inuustiy must be tieateu as aibitiaiy anu contiaiy to
public inteiest anu in violation of the iight to clean watei unuei Aiticle 21 of the Constitution of Inuia.").

278
lJ. at ¶S. In the case Perumottv 6romo Poncbovot v. Stote of Kerolo, the Bigh Couit of Keiala also iefeienceu
inteinational stanuaius when uefining the legal limits of watei extiaction. The Couit iefeienceu Piinciple 2 of the
Stockholm Beclaiation, noting that the natuial iesouices of the eaith must be safeguaiueu foi the benefit of piesent anu
futuie geneiations. See Peiumatty uiama Panchayat v. Keiala, (2uu4) 1 K.L.T. 7S1 (Inuia), ovoiloble ot
http:¡¡www.elaw.oig¡noue¡141u, at ¶1S.

279
A.P. Pollution Control BoorJ-ll (2uu1) 4 I.L.R. 6S7 at ¶9 (citing the Euiopean Couit of Buman Rights, Intei-Ameiican
Commission, Constitutional Couit of Colombia, anu the Constitutional Couit of South Afiica).
SS
language like "the essential minimum of the iight"
28u
oi "what is minimally iequiieu"
281
in
cases ielating to othei socio-economic iights like foou anu healthcaie. When taken
togethei, these phiases uemonstiate suppoit foi both "halves" of the minimum coie
concept: minimum content anu minimum obligations.
282
Fuitheimoie, the minimum
obligations as establisheu in People's 0nion for Civil liberties v. 0nion of lnJio & 0tbers,
incluueu the free piovision of a specific omount of foou to both chiluien anu auults
incapable of affoiuing it, a juugment concuiient with CESCR guiuelines anu easily
tianslatable to watei iights.
28S

The only implicit hybiiuization of watei iights with a minimum coie appioach
comes fiom the Bigh Couit of Allahabau in 0ttai Piauesh state. In its 1999 juugment in S. K.
6orq v. Stote of 0ttor ProJesb.
284
the Couit not only iecognizeu watei iights but also
consiueieu the positive legal obligations ielating to watei, implicitly suppoiting an iuea of
the minimum coie.
28S
This public inteiest litigation taigeteu the insufficiency of the watei
system in the iegion as being the ioot cause of a local watei shoitage anu theiefoie a iights
violation. Although the Couit uiu not itself specify a iemeuy, it establisheu a committee to
consiuei how to best solve the infiastiuctuial pioblems in the iegion. The most inteiesting
element in the Couit's uecision was its instiuction to the committee that it consiuei both
uigent, iemeuial steps to pioviue basic access to uiinking watei while also ueveloping long


28u
Paschim Banga Khet Nazuooi Samity v. West Bengal, (1996) A.I.R. 2426, 2429 (Inuia), ovoiloble ot
http:¡¡www.manniettinui.is¡the-human-iights-
ipoject¡humaniightscasesanumateiials¡cases¡nationalcases¡supiemecouitofinuia¡ni¡S94.

281
The citeu language is iepoiteu in Ioie Chowuhuiy, IuJiciol AJberence to o Hinimum Core Approocb to Socio-Fconomic
Riqbts - A Comporotive Perspective. 9 n. S7 (Nai. 2S, 2uu8) (unpublisheu woiking papei, Coinell Law School)(on file with
authoi)(useu with peimission). The language is taken fiom a uifficult-to-finu commentaiy on an inteiim oiuei fiom 2uu1.
People's 0nion foi Civil Libeities v. 0nion of Inuia, Wiit of Petition No. 196¡2uu1 (S.C. Nov. 28, 2uu1, oiuei gianting
pieliminaiy piotection). Though a publisheu souice is not ieauily available, the case is well-known in socio-economic
iights ciicles as litigation taigeting the iight to foou is quite iaie. See Cose low: People´s 0nion for Civil liberties v. 0nion of
lnJio onJ 0tbers. ESCR-Net.org, http:¡¡www.esci-net.oig¡caselaw¡caselaw_show.htm.uoc_iu=4u1uSS (last visiteu
Nov. 8, 2u1u). A final uecision foi the case was ueliveieu in 2uu7, in favoi of the People's 0nion. People's 0nion foi Civil
Libeities v. 0nion of Inuia, (2uu7) 1 S.C.C. 719 (Inuia), ovoiloble ot http:¡¡inuiankanoon.oig¡uoc¡4118S6¡.

282
The Inuian Couit's language is not uiiectly inteichangeable foi the iuea of a "minimum coie." Even a subtle change in
the woius useu can have a gieat effect on what is meant when iefeiencing the minimum coie. Foi an explanation, see
Chapman & Russell, supro note 1SS, at 9.

28S
See People's 0nion foi Civil Libeities v. 0nion of Inuia, Wiit of Petition No. 196¡2uu1 (S.C. Nay 2, 2uuS, seconu oiuei
gianting pieliminaiy piotection), ovoiloble ot http:¡¡www.esci-net.oig¡caselaw¡caselaw_show.htm.uoc_iu=4u1uSS
(select "uownloau" hypeilink in left-hanu panel). See olso uC1S, supro note SS.

284
S. K. uaig v. 0ttai Piauesh, (1999) A.I.R. (All.) 41 (Inuia), ovoiloble ot http:¡¡inuiankanoon.oig¡uoc¡898S22¡,
portiollv reporteJ in Winkler. supro note S6, at 14.

28S
The analysis of this case is boiioweu fiom Winklei, supro note S6 at 14.
S4
teim solutions.
286
The suppoit foi a minimum coie in this appioach was limiteu, as the
Couit neithei iefeienceu a "coie" noi auuiesseu the minimum content of the iight
alongsiue its minimum obligations. It may be a small conceptual step fiom such a juugment
to an explicit mention of a minimum coie foi watei, especially noting the willingness of the
Supieme Couit to use similai language in ielateu cases. Such a step, howevei, has yet to be
maue. Baiiing fuithei juuicial initiative, Inuian piogiess hinges on legislative incoipoiation
of the ICESCR, to which the countiy iemains bounu in inteinational law.

S. Banglauesh anu Pakistan

Banglauesh anu Pakistan aie incluueu heie to uemonstiate the tiansmission of
juuicial piinciples fiom Inuian couitiooms to theii Banglaueshi anu Pakistani counteipaits.
None of the cases below fully piotect a iight to clean, auequate watei access of a specific
quality oi quantity to ensuie human suivival. Noi uo these cases iefeience the minimum
coie concept. They only extenu limiteu piotection to fight iesouice pollution in a way
similai to the Inuian Supieme Couit's juugment in Subbosb Kumor above.
287
The cases
below, howevei, all uemonstiate a ieal juuicial attempt to moie auequately piotect socio-
economic iights - an effoit that may uevelop fuithei in the futuie with legislative change.
Banglauesh is often commenueu foi well-integiateu watei management, incluuing
its stiategies foi climate change compensation anu poveity alleviation.
288
Bue to its level of
uevelopment anu geogiaphical situation, it faces many of the same iesouice pioblems
suffeieu by Inuia, of which it useu to foim an integial pait.
289
Pollution, especially
stemming fiom unsafe inuustiial piactices, is a piominent concein in Banglauesh wheie
ovei 1uuu inuustiies have been iuentifieu since the 198us as unsafely uischaiging waste
into the watei anu aii.
29u
Again, socio-economic piinciples aie constitutionally enshiineu as


286
6orq (1999) A.I.R. (All.) 41, ¶9-1S. The Couit itself also oiueieu the immeuiate iepaii of hanu-wells anu the testing
of watei quality to ensuie speeuy, basic access. lJ.

287
Supro p. Su1, note 272.

288
IuPCC, supro note 2S, at S6.

289
Banglauesh (foimeily East Pakistan following paitition) seceueu fiom Inuia as a iesult of the Banglauesh Wai of
Inuepenuence begun in Naich of 1971. The inteinal conflict causeu by this wai cieateu social tuimoil in the miu-197us
piompting the invention of "Public Inteiest Litigation" in Inuia. See qenerollv Jona Razzaque, Public Interest
Environmental Litigation in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh (2uu4).

29u
COHRE(c), supro note Su, at 281.
SS
non-justiciable "piinciples of state policy,"

anu the ICESCR, though acceueu to, is laigely
ignoieu in uomestic law anu juiispiuuence.
291
Similai appioaches have been taken by both
Pakistan anu Nepal.
292
In a 2u1u iepoit following hei visit to the countiy, the Inuepenuent
Expeit on the iight to watei anu sanitation expiesseu concein ovei the goveinment's
failuie to issue a pieliminaiy iepoit to the CESCR anu to sign its 0ptional Piotocol.
29S

In the 199us, the Supieme Couit of Banglauesh began to peimit the piotection of
otheiwise non-justiciable socio-economic iights thiough the iight to life.
294
As in Inuia, the
tienu in Banglauesh began at the instigation of the juuiciaiy. In the RoJiooctive Hilk PowJer
case of eaily Iuly 1996, the Bigh Couit Bivision of the Supieme Couit exeiciseu special
oiiginal juiisuiction to enfoice a Wiit of Piotection against the State on behalf of the
Banglauesh Enviionmental Lawyei's Association (BELA). In its uecision to piohibit the
goveinment fiom ieleasing potentially iauioactive milk powuei onto the open maiket, the
Couit helu that "|s]ince the iight to life has not been inteipieteu in oui uomain. we may
see what meaning was given by the supeiioi couits of othei countiies to the iight to life."
29S

The following juugment quoteu seven foieign cases, six fiom Inuia anu one fiom the 0niteu
States. The Couit expanueu piotection foi the iight to life to (intei alia), "enjoyment of
pollution fiee watei anu aii, baie necessities of life. |anu] maintenance anu impiovement
of public health by cieating anu sustaining conuitions congenial to goou health anu


291
Inteiview with Bi. Kamal Bossain, Auvocate, Foimei Ninistei of Banglauesh anu 0N Special Rappoiteui on
Afghanistan, in Litigating, supro note 228, at 42.

292
Winklei, supro note S6, at 1S. In its accession to the ICESCR, Pakistan ieseiveu the iight to inteipiet the Covenant
within the fiamewoik of its Constitution, which uoes not give equal weight to socio-economic iights. Nepal, though not
making any such ieseivation, has been ciiticizeu by the CESCR foi its non-implementation of socio-economic iights. See
Comm. on Economic, Social anu Cultuial Rights, Concluuing 0bseivations of the Committee on Economic, Social anu
Cultuial Rights, Nepal, 0.N. Boc. E¡C.12¡NPL¡C0¡2, ¶24 (Ian. 16, 2uu8), at
http:¡¡www.unhci.oig¡iefwoilu¡uociu¡4798Sc2u2.html. Nepalese couits have also begun to piotect watei iights
thiough the justiciable iight to life. Nepal, howevei, is not incluueu in this analysis as the juiispiuuential stanuaiu theie
has not yet acknowleugeu oi piotecteu an inuepenuent human iight to watei, noi has it uevelopeu piotection foi any
iight's minimum coie. C0BRE notes two ielevant Nepalese cases in theii upcoming guiue. See COHRE(c), supro note Su,
manusciipt at 292, Su4. See olso Suiya Bhungel v. uouavaii Naible Inuustiies, (199S) 2uS2 N.K.P. S7 (Nepal); Piakash
Nani Shaima v. Nepal Watei Supply Coipoiation, (199u) BS 2u47 ueciueu in (2uu1) BS 2uS8 Ashauh 26, ovoiloble ot
http:¡¡www.elaw.oig¡noue¡1S8S.

29S
Inuep. Expeit on the Issue of Buman Rights 0bligations Relateu to Access to Safe Biinking Watei anu Sanitation &
Inuep. Expeit on the 0uestion of Buman Rights anu Extieme Poveity, Ioint Report of tbe lnJepenJent Fxpert on tbe
0uestion of Eumon Riqbts onJ Fxtreme Povertv. HoqJoleno SepulveJo CorJono. onJ tbe lnJepenJent Fxpert on tbe lssue of
Eumon Riqbts 0bliqotions ReloteJ to Access to Sofe Brinkinq Woter onJ Sonitotion. Cotorino Je Albuquerque: Hission to
BonqloJesb. Buman Rights Council, 0.N. Boc. A¡BRC¡1S¡SS, ¶8 (Iuly 22, 2u1u), ovoiloble ot
http:¡¡www2.ohchi.oig¡english¡bouies¡hicouncil¡uocs¡12session¡A-BRC-12-24_E.puf (via hypeilink with the title of
the uocument) |heieinaftei BonqloJesb Report].

294
Bangladesh Shongbidhan [Constitution} Nov. 4, 1972, ait. S2 (Bangl.) (iight to life).

29S
Faiooque v. Banglauesh (RoJiooctive Hilk PowJer), uniepoiteu W.P. 92, ¶2u (Iul. 1, 1996), ovoiloble ot
http:¡¡www.elaw.oig¡noue¡1S2S.
S6
ensuiing quality of life consistent with human uignity."
296
The innovative stanuaiu
embiaceu by the Inuian Supieme Couit in Subosb Kumor was quoteu in the juugment, only
foui yeais aftei it was ueliveieu.

Latei in the same month, the Bigh Couit Bivision
ieiteiateu its position in the IlooJ Action Plon case.
297
That juugment was again uphelu in
the Appellate Bivision, by which a similai inteipietation of the iight to life was also put
foith.
298

In 1999, Banglauesh acceueu to the ICESCR anu the Ninistiy of Watei Resouices
publisheu a National Watei Policy acknowleuging that the "availability |of watei] foi
sustenance of life, in both quantitative anu qualitative teims, is a basic human iight."
299
Foi
theii pait, Banglaueshi couits continueu to boiiow foieign stanuaius as they extenueu
socio-economic iights piotection even fuithei. In some cases this innovation came fiom the
bench itself: in otheis it was auopteu at the suggestion of the applicant. In Ask Ain o Solisb
KenJro v. 6overnment of BonqoJesb.
S00
claimant attoiney Bi. Kamal Bossain insisteu that
the Supieme Couit extenu piotection to slum uwelleis in a way similai to the Inuian
Couit's juugment in the 0lqo Tellis case.
Su1
The Couit complieu. In its 2uu1 juugment in the
lnJustriol Pollution case,
Su2
the Supieme Couit foiceu the goveinment to implement laws
aimeu at contiolling inuustiial pollution anu piotecting enviionmental health. The
juugment again iefeienceu Inuian juiispiuuence to asseit that the iight to life "incluues
eveiything which is necessaiy to make it meaningful anu a life woith living, such as, among


296
lJ. at ¶ S6.

297
Faiooque v. Banglauesh (IlooJ Action Plon: Eiqb Court), (1996) 48 B.L.R. (BC) 4S8, portiollv reporteJ in Iona
Razzaque, Access to Fnvironmentol Iustice: Role of tbe IuJiciorv in BonqloJesb 4(1) Bangl. J. L. 1, 7 nn. S-4 (2uuu),
ovoiloble ot http:¡¡www.biliabu.oig¡blj¡content1.htm. See olso COHRE(c), manusciipt at Su7.

298
Faiooque v. Banglauesh (IlooJ Action Plon Cose: Appellote), (1997) 49 B.L.R. (AB) 1, portiollv reporteJ in Razzaque,
Access. supro note 289 at 7, nn. S-4 ("Aiticle S1 anu S2 . . . encompass within its ambit, the piotection anu pieseivation of
enviionment, ecological balance fiee fiom pollution of aii anu watei, sanitation without which life can haiuly be enjoyeu.
Any act oi omission contiaiy theieto woulu be violative of the saiu iight to life.").

299
Gov. of the People’s Republic of Bangl., Ministry of Water Resources, National Water Policy 1 (Ian Su,
1999), ovoiloble ot http:¡¡www.mowi.gov.bu¡Bocuments¡National%2uWatei%2uPolicy%2u(English).puf.

Suu
Ask Ain o Salish Kenuia v. Bangl. (1999) 19 B.L.B. 488 (Bangl.), summorizeJ in Ask Ain o Salish, Buman Rights in
Balglauesh 2uuu, ESCR-Net (2uu1), ovoiloble ot http:¡¡www.esci-net.oig¡caselaw¡caselaw_show.htm.uoc_iu=4uu92u
(last visiteu Nov. 9, 2u1u).

Su1
lJ. See olso 0lga Tellis v. Bombay Nun. Council, (198S) 2 S.C.R. S1 (Inuia), ovoiloble ot
http:¡¡www.elaw.oig¡noue¡28Su: See olso. Inteiview supro note 284, at 4S ("I was also able to say to the couit |in the
0lga Tellis Case]: look, even in neighboiing Inuia they use the iight to life as a basis, a plank, on which to give limiteu
iights.").

Su2
Faiooque v. Banglauesh (lnJustriol Pollution), uniepoiteu W.P. 891 (1994), (uecision Iuly 1S, 2uu1), ovoiloble ot
http:¡¡www.elaw.oig¡noue¡2S78. See olso COHRE(c), manusciipt at 282.
S7
otheis maintenance of health. lack of which may put the life of the citizen at naught."
SuS

0nfoitunately, neithei watei iights noi a minimum coie weie explicitly piotecteu in eithei
of these juugments.
Socio-economic iights juiispiuuence has faileu to uevelop beyonu these initial
lanumaik cases, anu theie is substantial concein ovei the futuie of juuicial piotection foi
these iights. The National Buman Rights Commission, cieateu by piesiuential oiuei in
2uu9, still lacks the iequisite financial anu human iesouices to commence woik. When the
Commission becomes functional, its manuate will iemain iestiicteu by the constitutional
uiffeientiation between funuamental iights anu uiiective piinciples.
Su4
A piompt legislative
solution to watei iights iecognition seems impiobable, as the most iecent uiaft of the
Watei Act fails to explicitly iecognize a human iight to watei uespite the eailiei stance of
the 1999 National Watei Policy.
SuS
With a juuiciaiy seizeu "only iaiely" of allegeu violations
of watei iights, Banglauesh will continue to lag behinu Inuia in effective watei iights
piotection until legislative innovation can "opeiationalize" existing iights with mechanisms
foi theii enfoiceability.
Su6

Pakistani Couits began to uevelop watei juiispiuuence in the 199us, again with
iefeience to Inuian juuicial stanuaius. Although Pakistan has moie explicitly embiaceu the
inteinational consensus suiiounuing iesouice piotection, it too has fallen shoit of
significantly suppoiting the inteinational uefinition of the iight to watei.
In the 199S Solt Hiners case. the Supieme Couit founu that "|t]he woiu 'life' has to
be given an extenueu meaning anu cannot be iestiicteu to a vegetative life oi meie animal
existence. "|T]he iight to have watei fiee fiom pollution anu contamination is a iight to life
itself."
Su7
The uecision iefeienceu an eailiei juugment in Sbolo Zio v. WAPBA
Su8
in which
the Couit founu that the iights to life anu uignity incluue a iight to a healthy enviionment,


SuS
lnJustriol Pollution. at ¶17. The stanuaiu heie was uevelopeu in an eailiei instance of the same case, but the
language was notably auopteu by the Bigh Couit Bivision of the Supieme Couit.

Su4
See BonqloJesb Report. supro note 29S, at 11.

SuS
lJ. at Su. The most iecent uiaft is uateu Becembei 2uu8.

Su6
lJ. at S4. The Inuepenuent Expeits final iecommenuation auuiesses the "claimability" anu enfoiceability of watei
iights anu the institution of accountability mechanisms.

Su7
ueneial Secietaiy v. The Biiectoi (Solt Hiners) (1994) SCNR 2u61, os reporteJ in COHRE(c), supro note Su,
manusciipt at 29u.

Su8
Shala Zia v. WAPBA, (1994) SCNR 69S (Pak.), ovoiloble ot http:¡¡www.elaw.oig¡noue¡1S42. This case also leau to
many similai uecisions. Foi an extensive analysis see Parvez Hassan, United Nations Environmental Programme,
Environmental Rights as Part of Fundamental Rights: the Leadership of the Judiciary in Pakistan (2uuS),
ovoiloble ot http:¡¡www.elaw.oig¡system¡files¡Enviionmental.Rights.Pakistan.uoc.
S8
uespite the fact that the enviionment enjoyeu no legal piotection at the time. The Solt
Hiners case seems to be the only time the Supieme Couit has explicitly mentioneu a iight
to watei, anu as such, the stanuaiu iemains as similaily limiteu as in Banglauesh.
Su9

Theie may be some hope foi futuie impiovement, howevei, noting the willingness
of the Pakistani Supieme Couit to iefeience Inuian juuicial stanuaius. In SinJb lnstitution v.
Nestle Hilkpok onJ 0tbers.
S1u
the Supieme Couit founu that Nestlé's plans to bottle a local
watei souice violateu Section 12 of the 1997 Pakistan Enviionmental Piotection Act.
S11

The juugment iefeiieu to both pievious Inuian enviionmental cases,
S12
anu ceitain
inteinational ueclaiations ielating to the use of natuial iesouices.
S1S
The opinion also
iefeienceu "genuine neeus" as the basis foi piotection of local watei access, issuing an
inteiim oiuei banning the constiuction of the bottling plant.
Fuithei piotection foi socio-economic iights in Pakistan is faceu by two challenges:
(a) a pieponueiance of civil anu political iights abuses foi which theie is moie
Constitutional piotection,
S14
anu (b) questions ovei both the foimal anu ieal inuepenuence
of the juuiciaiy.
S1S
0ntil these pioblems aie solveu, the cieative piotection of socio-
economic iights in that countiy can be expecteu to lag behinu the Inuian example.



Su9
Although the juugment is only limiteuly applicable heie, it is inteiesting to note that a Bigh Couit in the lobore Air
Pollution Cose insisteu on watei's funuamentality to the iight to life with iefeience to its piotection in both 0.S. law anu
the Koian. See Anjun Iifan v Lahoie Bev. Auth (lobore Air Pollution). (2uu2) PLB (Lahoie) SSS, ¶1S-17 (Pak.), ovoiloble ot
http:¡¡www.elaw.oig¡noue¡2S9u.

S1u
Sinuh Inst. of 0iology anu Tiansplantation v. Nestlé Nilkpak Ltu., (2uuS) CLC (Sinuh, Kaiachi) 424, (2uu4) (Pak.),
ovoiloble ot http:¡¡www.shehii.oig¡subpages¡nestle.puf, portiollv reporteJ in Cohre(b), supro note 21S, at 189.

S11
Pakistan Enviionmental Piotection Act, No. S4 of 1997, §12, The Gazette of Pakistan Extraordinary, Bec. 6,
1997 (Pak.).

S12
SinJb lnst. of 0roloqv onJ Tronsplontotion (2uuS) CLC 424, citinq Tamilnauu v. Binu Stone, (1981) (2) SCNR 2uS at
212 (Inuia), ovoiloble ot http:¡¡www.iishabhuaia.com¡sc¡view.php.case=7S11.

S1S
lJ. at 4 ("The natuial iesouices of the eaith, incluuing the aii, watei, lanu, floia anu fauna especially iepiesentative
samples of natuial eco-systems, must be safeguaiueu foi the benefit of piesent anu futuie geneiations thiough caieful
planning oi management, as appiopiiate.").

S14
Inteinational Buman Rights watchuogs anu the 0.S. State Bepaitment continue to publish iepoits iegaiuing human
iights conceins ielateu to extiajuuicial killings, teiioiism, militancy, secuiity opeiations anu fieeuom of the piess. See.
e.q.. Ionuorv 2010 Countrv Summorv: Pokiston, Human Rights Watch (Ian. 2u1u), http:¡¡www.hiw.oig¡en¡woilu-
iepoit-2u1u¡pakistan (heieinaftei BRW): "Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, United States
Department of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Pakistan (2u1u), ovoiloble ot
http:¡¡www.state.gov¡g¡uil¡ils¡hiipt¡2uu9¡sca¡1S6u92.htm. The Pakistani Constitution uiiectly piotects ielateu
"funuamental iights" incluuing the secuiity of the peison, safeguaius to aiiest anu uetention, anu fieeuom of speech.
Pakistan Const. ait. 9, 1u, 19 (iespectively). The Iuuiciaiy has alieauy begun heaiings ielateu to the woist of these
uisappeaiance cases.

S1S
The juuiciaiy shoulu be ensuieu legal supiemacy ovei the othei oigans of the state apait fiom the ability to issue
oiueis uiiectly contiaiy to a piesiuential ueciee, but has only iecently ieclaimeu that ability in 2uu9. Pakistan Const.
ait. 176-91. In Naich of that same yeai, the Supieme Couit iestoieu ousteu chief justice Iftikhai Chauuhiy to the bench
along with many othei juuges uismisseu by Nushaiiaf. See BRW, supro note S14.
S9

4. The Philippines

Although its Constitution also enshiines socio-economic iights as "uiiective
piinciples" in a way similai to Inuia's, the Philippines is consiueieu sepaiately as its couits
have inteipieteu these piinciples moie conseivatively.
S16
Recent juugments have
challengeu both the tiansmission of juuicial piinciples anu the effective piotection of watei
iights foi Filipinos.
The Philippines has hau a "mixeu anu ambivalent histoiy with socio-economic
iights" uue to ceitain histoiical anu political iealities.
S17
Buman Rights in the Philippines
aie often conflateu with civil anu political iights, anu those woiking to piotect human
iights aie often bianueu as leftists, communists oi even teiioiists.
S18
Some suggest that
this sentiment is ieflecteu in Supieme Couit juugments, which have faileu to iespect
inteinational iights stanuaius, often by making blatantly inaccuiate legal assumptions. In
the 1996 case People v. leo Fcbeqorov.
S19
foi example, the Couit helu on a motion foi
ieconsiueiation that "the Philippines cannot be ueemeu iiievocably bounu" by the
piovisions of the ICCPR anu its Piotocol "consiueiing that these agieements have ieacheu
only the Committee level."
S2u
The juugment was ueliveieu ovei ten yeais aftei the seconu
of those uocuments enteieu into foice.
S21
In othei cases, couits have pioblematically
uenieu the peiemptoiy natuie of inteinational legal obligations,
S22
aiguing that municipal


S16
Litigating, supro note 2SS at 48. Const. (197S) ait 2. sec. 7-28.

S17
lJ.

S18
Inteiview with Na. Soccoio "Cookie" Biokno, in Litigating, supro note 2SS, at Su-S1.

S19
Philippines v. Leo Echegaiay y Pilo, u.R. No. 117472 (Iune 2S, 1996) (Phil), ovoiloble ot
http:¡¡www.chaniobles.com¡cialaw199617.htm.

S2u
lJ. in "Resolution on Notion foi Reconsiueiation" (Feb. 7, 1997, p. 9).

S21
The Piotocol enteieu into foice in 1976 anu the Philippines iatifieu it in 1989.

S22
As a geneial iule, inteinational law holus inteinational legal piinciples anu agieements ovei national legal
constiucts, no mattei the way inteinational commitments aie incoipoiateu into the national legal oiuei. In piactice, this
means that states cannot iely on gaps in uomestic law as a justification foi a failuie to meet an inteinational obligation.
This stanuaiu was peihaps best explaineu by the P.C.I.I. in the Iree Zones Cose, wheie it helu "ceitain that Fiance cannot
iely on hei own legislation to limit the scope of hei inteinational obligations." Case of the Fiee Zones of 0ppei Savoy anu
the Bistiict of uex (Fi. v. Switz.), 19S2, P.C.I.I. (Sei. A¡B) No. 46, at 96, 168 (Iune 7). Foi an explanation see Peter
Malanczuk, Akehurst’s Modern Introduction to International Law 6S-6S (Routleuge, 7
th
eu. 1997)(197u).
Aumitteuly, this legal piinciple is less likely to be utilizeu in uomestic juuicial bouies with moie state-centiic iueas about
the applicability of inteinational law. Still, the uelibeiate uisiegaiu foi establisheu inteinational stanuaius in the cases
below (infro. note S2S) iemains pioblematic fiom an inteinational stanupoint.
6u
oi uomestic law can tiump establisheu inteinational stanuaius, even wheie the state's
inteinational obligations aie being explicitly consiueieu.
S2S

0ne of the only positive examples of iights enfoicement in the Philippines came
with the 199S Supieme Couit juugment in Hinors 0poso v. Secretorv of tbe Beportment of
Fnvironmentol onJ Noturol Resources.
S24
In that case a gioup of minois weie given stanuing
to challenge the uestiuction of national iainfoiests with a claim baseu in the constitutional
iights to a "balanceu anu healthful ecology" anu to "self-pieseivation anu self-
peipetuation" (both uiiective piinciples).
S2S
The Couit founu that the iights to a clean
enviionment, to exist fiom the lanu, anu to pioviue foi futuie geneiations aie
"funuamental."
S26
It also helu that the Constitution iequiies that the goveinment "piotect
anu piomote the health of the people."
S27
The oiiginal claim was baseu in pait on a concein
foi watei shoitage stemming fiom uefoiestation.
S28
The case, howevei, uiu little to uefine
oi uefenu watei iights.
Social ieticence ielateu to human iights has meant that the management of watei in
the Philippines is caiiieu out in a state-centiic way, with limiteu (if any) acknowleugment
of human uignity, inheient entitlement oi state obligation. The 1976 Watei Coue, foi
instance, places all watei iesouices unuei state contiol anu iequiies that "|p]iefeience in
the uevelopment of watei iesouices. consiuei secuiity of the State, multiple use,
beneficial effects, auveise effects anu cost of uevelopment."
S29
Although the Coue exempts
uiinking, bathing, cooking anu othei uomestic uses fiom a peimit iequiiement, human
neeu anu livelihoou aie notably ignoieu fiom the calculus of appiopiiate use, anu the


S2S
See e.q.. Philip Noiiis v. Couit of Appeals, u.R. No. 91SS2, 224 S.C.R.A. S76 (Iuly 16, 199S) (Phil.), ovoiloble ot
http:¡¡www.lawphil.net¡juujuiis¡juii199S¡jul199S¡gi_91SS2_199S.html. In this case, the Couit helu that "the fact that
inteinational law has been maue pait of the law of the lanu uoes not by any means imply the piimacy of inteinational law
ovei national law in the municipal spheie. ...iules of inteinational law aie given a stanuing equal, not supeiioi, to national
legislative enactments." lJ. at paia. 21. The Couit then pioceeueu to place municipal law over inteinational law, aiguing
that it "must suboiuinate an inteinational agieement inasmuch as the appaient clash is being ueciueu by a municipal
tiibunal." lJ. See olso Kuioua v. Ialanuoni, 8S PhiL. Rep. 171 (1949) (Phil.) (with a similai iuling).

S24
0posa v. Fulgencio S. Factoian Ii., u. R. No. 1u1u8S (Iuly Su,199S) (Phil.), reprinteJ in SS ILN (1994) p. 17S. See olso
COHRE(c), supro note Su, manusciipt at 292.

S2S
Saligang Batas ng Pilipinas [Constitution] Feb 11, 1987, ait. II § 16 (Phil).

S26
Foi a summaiy of the case see Pbilippines: Hinors 0poso v. Secretorv of tbe Beportment of Fnvironmentol onJ Noturol
Resources 199S. Child Rights Information Network, http:¡¡www.ciin.oig¡Law¡instiument.asp.InstIB=126u (last
visiteu 0ct. 19, 2u1u).

S27
Const. (1987), ait. II § 1S (Phil).

S28
The claim citeu concein ovei a "host of enviionmental tiageuies, such as (a) watei shoitages iesulting fiom the
uiying up of the watei table. |anu] (b) salinization of the watei table." COHRE(c), supro note Su, at 292.

S29
Watei Coue of the Philippines, Piesiuential Beciee No. 1u67, ait. S8 (1976) 7S 0.u. SSS4 (Nay 11, 1977) (Phil.).
61
uocument has nevei been amenueu to incluue such a iefeience.
SSu
In its Concluuing
0bseivations of 2uu8, the CESCR iemaikeu that uespite enshiinement of the ICESCR as
national law,
SS1
"Covenant piovisions aie seluom invokeu befoie oi uiiectly enfoiceu by
national couits, tiibunals oi auministiative authoiities."
SS2
Iuuicial piotection foi watei
iights will continue to stagnate until both Filipino stakeholueis anu couits can oveicome
the social stigma suiiounuing inteinational human iights stanuaius like the ICESCR.


S. Inuonesia

Although Inuian juiispiuuence is usually noteu foi its unique piotection of watei
iights, one case fiom the Constitutional Couit of Inuonesia may be the stiongest example of
South Asian suppoit foi the iight to watei.
SSS
In 2uu4 a gioup of legal aiu oiganizations anu
Nu0s challengeu the Law on Watei Resouices,
SS4
woiiieu that it inauequately
acknowleugeu, uefineu anu piioiitizeu the human iight to watei vis-o-vis civil watei iights
foi commeicial exploitation.
SSS
The law was meant to ieplace the 1974 Law on Iiiigation
SS6

anu was seen by ciitics as an attempt by the Woilu Bank to piessuie acceptance of a
piivatization scheme.
SS7



SSu
lJ. at ait. 6, 1u: Aiticle 22 also incluues a iefeience to the piioiity of uomestic anu municipal use ovei othei uses.
"|B]omestic anu municipal puiposes shall have a bettei fight ovei all othei uses." lJ. at ait. 22.

SS1
Const. (1987), ait. II § 2 (Phil).

SS2
Comm. on Economic, Social anu Cultuial Rights, Concluuing 0bseivations of the Committee on Economic, Social anu
Cultuial Rights, Philippines, 0.N. Boc. E¡C.12¡PBL¡C0¡4, ¶12 (Bec. 1, 2uu8), at
http:¡¡www.unhci.oig¡iefwoilu¡uociu¡49Sf9488u.html.

SSS
Inuonesia, although incluueu in the seconu uiaft of the C0BRE guiue, has laigely been ignoieu by scholais ieviewing
national implementation of watei iights oi inteinational acceptance of a minimum coie concept foi socio-economic
iights. See COHRE(c), supro note Su.

SS4
Law on Watei Resouices, No. 7 of 2uu4, The Official Gazette of Indonesia, 2uu4, No. 66.

SSS
See supro §II foi a uiscussion of the uiffeience. Applicants challengeu Aiticles 9, 1u, 26, 4S, 26, 8u, 91, 92, S9(2), 6 (S)
anu (2), S8(2), 48(1), 29(S) anu 49(4), although the Couit ueciueu to ieview the law in its entiiety. Iuuicial Review of the
Law No. 7 of 2uu4 on Watei Resouices, Iuugment of 1Sth Iuly 2uuS, No. uS8-uS9-u6u-u6S¡P00- II¡2uu4. (C.C.) (Inuon.),
ovoiloble ot http:¡¡www.mahkamahkonstitusi.go.iu¡putusan¡putusan_siuang_eng_Putusan%2uuS8-uS9-u6S%2uP00-II-
2uu4.%2uuu8-P00-III-2uuS%2u(00%2uSBA).puf.

SS6
Law Conceining Iiiigation, No. 11 of 1974, The Official Gazette of Indonesia, 1974, No. 6S. The law was uiafteu
at a time of watei abunuance anu uiu not effectively piotect watei souices noi pioviue foi management. See Nohamau
Nova Al'Afghani, Constitutionol Court´s Review onJ tbe Iuture of Woter low in lnJonesio. 2(1) L. Env. & Dev. J. 1, 4
(2uu6).*

SS7
lJ. at S.
62
Although it uoes not explicitly enshiine a "iight to watei," the Inuonesian
Constitution piotects watei as a ueiivative of othei entitlements.
SS8
The Constitution also
iegulates watei's use as a natuial iesouice in its economic chapteis.
SS9
This uual piotection
foi a human iight to watei anu civil iight of exploitation, howevei, was not miiioieu in the
Watei Resouices Law. Although the law placeu an obligation on city¡iegency goveinments
to meet "eveiyone's iight to obtain watei foi theii minimum uaily basic neeus," the
language uesciibing this subsistence iight was not uistinguisheu fiom the language
uesciibing the sepaiate iight to exploit iesouices with a license.
S4u
The law may nevei have
been intenueu to uefine oi piotect human iights.
S41
Neveitheless, in piactice this lack of
uistinction leu to a lack of accountability when companies weie given peimits to extiact
iesouices that then hinueieu the enjoyment of subsistence iights by local communities.
S42

The Inuonesian Couit eventually founu the law conuitionally constitutional,
meaning that it was piesumeu to be constitutional when appiopiiately inteipieteu.
S4S

Concuiiing justices, howevei, useu the Couit's opinion to fuithei uefine the human iight to
watei as ueiiveu fiom the Inuonesian Constitution - an exeicise in legal constiuction that
almost peifectly suppoiteu the uefinition of watei iights at the inteinational level. The
Couit explicitly iefeienceu the WB0 Chaitei, Aiticle 2S of the 0BBR, Aiticle 12 of the
ICESCR, Aiticle 24(1) of the CRC anu both ueneial Comments 14 anu 1S of the CESCR. The
Couit helu that these stanuaius, when accompanieu by the constitutional iights to life anu
well-being,
S44
mean that the state has the uuty to iespect, piotect anu fulfill the iight to


SS8
Undang-Undang Dasar Republik Indonesia [U.U.D.] 1945 (Constitution) Iuly S, 19S9.
Namely iight of chiluien to uevelop anu be nuituieu (lJ. at ait. 28B(2)), the iight towaiu the fulfillment of basic neeus (lJ.
at ait. 28C(1)), the iight to a life of well-being in bouy anu minu anu foi the enjoyment of a healthy enviionment (lJ. at ait.
28B(1)), the iight to obtain social secuiity (lJ. at ait. 28B(S)) anu the iight to cultuial iuentities anu the acknowleugment
of the iights of tiauitional communities (lJ. at ait. 28I(S)).

SS9
lJ. at ch. XIv.

S4u
Confusion between bok quno pokoi oir (use foi uaily subsistence) anu bok quno usobo oir (commeicial use). The fiist
teim is especially uifficult to unueistanu as tianslateu it means ioughly ("watei use iight in utilizing watei") anu uoes not
specify watei use foi exploitation of foi uaily subsistence. See Al'Afghani supro note SS6 at 8.

S41
Al'Afghani suggests that the fact the law iefeiences constitutional aiticle SS (iegaiuing natuial iesouices) anu not
aiticle 28B(1) (the iight to life anu well-being) may inuicate that the law was nevei meant to be anything moie than
iesouice management legislation. lJ. at 17. See olso U.U.D. Const. ait. 2S, 28B(1) Iuly S, 19S9 (Inuon.).

S42
Al'Afghani cites a uemonstiation in the Polonborio Bistiict, in which iesiuents picketeu a watei bottlei foi extiacting
too much watei fiom local aquifeis, theieby affecting iiiigation. lJ. at 12 n. S2. See olso Beta Teijajah Tuan-Tuan,
6entlemen. We ore ColoniseJ! Gatra Magazine (2uu2).*

S4S
This language is taken fiom the Statement of Chaiiman of the Constitutional Couit, Piof. Bi. Iimly Asshiuuiqie, S.B.
See Piof. Bi. Iimly Asshiuuiqie, S.B., Chaiiman of the Constitutional Couit, Nahkamah Konstitusi ualam Sistem
Ketatanegaiaan Republik Inuonesia (Bec. 11, 2uuS), os citeJ in Al'Afghani supro note SS6, at S.

S44
U.U.D. Const. ait. 28B, Iuly S, 19S9 (Inuon.).
6S
watei, anu that the goveinment is obligateu to meet "the uaily neeus of eveiy
inuiviuual."
S4S

In iefeiencing almost eveiy majoi legal souice foi the iight to watei at the
inteinational level - incluuing ueneial Comment 1S - the Constitutional Couit not only
applieu that stanuaiu to its own national context: it also implicitly embiaceu the iight's
minimum coie. Fuitheimoie, the uecision auopteu a "basic neeus" appioach to immeuiate
state obligations while iequiiing that the goveinment continue to piogiessively iespect,
piotect anu fulfill watei iights. Although conceins foi the uesiiability of the Watei
Nanagement Law peisist, the Couit's woik at "content-giving" pioviueu conciete suppoit
foi a human iight to watei. This stanuaiu, if tiansmitteu abioau, woulu gieatly stiengthen
the position of stakeholueis inteinationally.


LATIN ANERICA
6. Aigentina

Conceins ovei watei piovision in Aigentina stem fiom inuustiial pollution anu fiom
faileu piivatization iefoims in the 199us. Piovincial couits have iesponueu to these
challenges by asseiting a iight to watei baseu in the constitutional iight to a healthy
enviionment.
S46
Iuuicial activism in seveial piovinces has leu to claims that couits
nationwiue now have a legal basis (though non-noimative) upon which to piotect a iight to
uiinking watei.
S47
Aigentine couits have explicitly iefeienceu inteinational uocumentation
in theii juiispiuuence, anu have also uevelopeu stiong implicit (if impeifect) suppoit foi
watei's minimum coie. The Aigentine cases below, often citeu as inteinational mouels, aie
also uemonstiative of the geneial appioach to watei iights taken in many Latin Ameiican
juiisuictions.
S48



S4S
See Al'Afghani, supro note SS6. at 9, §2.

S46
Ait. 41, Constitución Nacional [Const. Nac.] Aug. 22, 1994 (Aig.). This appioach is common in Latin Ameiica.
Colombian couits have auopteu similai juugments: seveial aie summaiizeu below.

S47
Picolotti, supro note 22S, at 12.

S48
Although only cases fiom Colombia anu Aigentina aie citeu heie, case law on the iight to watei has ieacheu a similai
level of uevelopment in elsewheie in Latin Ameiica. Costa Rican juiispiuuence, foi example, has iequiieu seivice
extensions to those without access. Biazilian couits have begun to ieveise uisconnections. See COHRE(C), supro note Su,
at 277. Biazil, Peiu, Chile anu venezuela have also iecently uevelopeu limiteu suppoit foi watei iights. See e.q.. Coite
64
Fiom 1991-1999, Woilu Bank anu INF-uiiecteu funuing biought one of the
histoiy's laigest uevelopment investment piogiams to Aigentina.
S49
Agieements weie
biokeieu in all 2S piovinces piivatizing watei utilities, coveiing ovei 6u% of the
population by 1999.
SSu
Coiiuption anu a lack infiastiuctuie causeu almost immeuiate
pioblems. Inauequate oveisight quickly leu to pollution by both inuustiy anu majoi seivice
pioviueis as pooi iegions weie left with incomplete ienovations anu watei piices steauily
incieaseu. In some places taiiffs giew by 7u% foi the pooiest 1u% of the population, while
piivatization faileu to connect ovei Su% of potential clients to a watei souice.
SS1
With the
onset of the 2uu1 economic ciisis, bill collection iates uioppeu by 9u% anu shut-offs
became ioutine. The self-financing capability of the maiket uisappeaieu anu any attempt at
"cost iecaptuie" was lost.
SS2
As Nelson suggests, "Piofitability is the key to all the
aiguments foi piivate sectoi piovision: efficiency, incentives to impiove infiastiuctuie anu
incentives to conseive."
SSS
In piivatization, howevei, watei geneially flows to money, not
to neeu. Aigentina pioves that when piofitability uisappeais, watei stops flowing at all.
SS4


Supiema ue Iusticia |C.S.I.] |Supieme Couit], 2S noviembie 2uu9, "Alejanuio Papic Bominguez con Comuniuau Inuigena
Aymaia Chuzmiza y 0smagama," Rol ue la causa:284u-u8, iecuiso ue pioteccion (Chile),
http:¡¡www.poueijuuicial.cl¡mouulos¡BusqCausas¡BCA_esta4u2.php.iowuetalle=AAANoPAANAACuEiAAC&consulta=1
uu&causa=284u¡2uu8&numcua=41242&secie=0NICA (in which the Couit piotecteu the inuigenous watei iights of a
community fiom full exploitation by a bottling coipoiation. The juugment piotecteu a specific amount of fiesh watei (9
liteis pei seconu) anu applieu inteinational stanuaius (IL0 Convention) but in ielation to inJiqenous riqbts in both
national anu inteinational law, not to a human iight to watei as such.

S49
See Sebastien Bachei, WorlJwiJe Woter Hovement Wins victories; Arqentino Woter Privotizotion Scbeme Runs Brv.
Michigan Quarterly Review (Nai. 1S, 2uu4). See olso. uieg Palast, Tbe Iour Steps Wbicb BestroveJ Arqentino,
Prosperity UK, Feb. 2uuS, ovoiloble ot www.piospeiityuk.com¡piospeiity¡aiticles¡aigen.html. Piivate sectoi
involvement, linkeu stiongly to uevelopment banks, was fiist implementeu in ueveloping countiies (198us) anu was only
subsequently intiouuceu to uevelopeu anu tiansitioning economies like Aigentina. See Inuep. Expeit on the Issue of
Buman Rights 0bligations Relateu to Access to Safe Biinking Watei anu Sanitation, Report of tbe Fxpert on tbe lssue of
Eumon Riqbts 0bliqotions ReloteJ to Non-Stote Service Provision in Woter onJ Sonitotion. Buman Rights Council, 0.N. Boc.
A¡BRC¡1S¡S1, ¶6 (Iune 29, 2u1u) (by Cataiina ue Albuqueique), ovoiloble ot
http:¡¡www2.ohchi.oig¡english¡issues¡watei¡iexpeit¡annual.htm (via hypeilink with the title of the uocument)
|heieinaftei Non-Stote Actor Report].
The piivatization was unueitaken puisuant to Law No. 2S696, Aug. 18, 1989, |XLIX-C] A.B.L.A. 2444 (Aig.).

SSu
Sebastian ualiani, Paul ueitiei & Einesto Shaigiousky. Woter for life: Tbe lmpoct of tbe Privotizotion of Woter
Services on CbilJ Hortolitv. 11S(1) J. Pol. Econ. 1, 9 (2uuS).

SS1
I Iason Biickei, Privotizotion of Woter Honoqement in Arqentino. American University Trade Environment
Database 2-S (2uu1). http:¡¡www1.ameiican.euu¡teu¡watei-aigentina.htm. See olso Bluemel, supro note S, at 984:
viviana Alonso, Woter onJ Sewoqe Privotisotion 6one Sour. Inter Press Service (Aug. 1S, 2uuS), ovoiloble ot
http:¡¡ipsnews.net¡inteina.asp.iunews=1969S.

SS2
Biickei supro note SS1, at S

SSS
Paul I. Nelson, Eumon Riqbts. tbe Hillennium Bevelopment 6ools. onJ tbe Iuture of Bevelopment Cooperotion. SS(12)
World Dev. 2u41, 2u49 (2uu7). *

SS4
In hei iepoit on Non-State Seivice Piovision, the Inuepenuent Expeit notes that geneially, human iights aie "neutial
as to economic mouels", anu that the uecision is left to the state as to the best way of implementing its human iights
obligations. Non-Stote Actor Report. supro note S49, at ¶1S, 6S. The piesent essay suppoits this legal position, noting that
the choice by a state to involve piivate inteiest at some level of iesouice piovision may be an appiopiiate one, always
consiueiing, howevei, that "|t|he State cannot exempt itself fiom its human iights obligations by involving non-State
6S
Aigentines enjoy unique watei iights piotection, which has helpeu ieuiess some of
these violations. The 18SS Constitution has been iefoimeu six times, most iecently in 199S
when eleven tieaties (incluuing the ICESCR) weie incoipoiateu as fully justiciable.
SSS
The
Supieme Couit has helu that lowei couits shoulu follow the authoiitative inteipietations of
these tieaties wheie applicable.
SS6
Constitutional iights (incluuing those ueiiveu fiom
inteinational commitments) aie often piotecteu by class-action suit begun with a couit-
oiueieu injunction oi occión omporo. Amporo injunctions can also be placeu by Public
Befenueis, subject to subsequent ieview.
SS7
As in Inuia, anyone can initiate such a case in
the public inteiest.
SS8

The fiist notable watei iights case, Henores CommuniJoJ Povnemil
SS9
aiose fiom an
injunction placeu by a Public Befenuei upon leaining that the goveinment hau not taken
steps to stop the inuustiial contamination of uiinking watei. While uiilling a new well,
membeis of the Paynemil community encounteieu hyuiocaibon, confiimeu by an
inuepenuent iepoit.
S6u
The piovincial Couit of Appeals founu that the goveinment was
iesponsible foi negligent oveisight of a neaiby oil company, a violation of the iight to a
healthy enviionment. The Couit oiueieu the goveinment to pioviue 2Su l¡p¡u of clean
watei to Paynemil within 48 houis anu to "ensuie the piovision of uinking watei by
appiopiiate means within 4S uays."
S61
The case, though not explicitly iefeiencing an
inuepenuent iight to watei, has been inteipieteu as stiong juuicial suppoit foi such a
iight.
S62
Nost impoitantly, it uevelops a two-piongeu appioach similai to the Inuian couit
in S. K. 6orq v. Stote of 0ttor ProJesb by iequiiing the immeuiate piovision of a specific
amount of clean uiinking watei to meet basic neeus while ensuiing that the state move
piogiessively towaiu the implementation of the iight's full scope.
S6S


actois in seivice piovision. Iiiespective of iesponsibilities of the lattei, the State iemains the piimaiy uuty-beaiei foi the
iealization of human iights." lJ. ot $18. Iiiespective of this position, many impoitant juuicial claims consiueieu in this
chaptei have aiisen fiom the impeifect oi impiopei piivatization of watei iesouices anu a lack of state oveisight.

SSS
§ 7S, ¶22, Const. Nac. Aigentina iatifieu the ICESCR in 1986.

SS6
Winklei, supro note S6, at 9.

SS7
Ait. 4S, Const. Nac. (Aig.), was pait of the 1994 iefoim.

SS8
Litigating, supro note 228 at 6u: § 4S, Const. Nac. (Aig.).

SS9
Cámaia ue Apelaciones en lo Civil y Comeicial |CApel.CC Nqn.] |Neuquen Couit of Appeals in Civil anu Commeicial
Natteis] 2¡S¡1997, "Nenoies Comuniuau Paynemil ¡ accion ampaio (Henores) (Aig.), ovoiloble ot http:¡¡www.esci-
net.oig¡usi_uoc¡sentencia_cámaia_Paynemil.tif, portiollv reporteJ in COHRE(b), supro note 21S, at 111.

S6u
A segment of this iepoit is iepiinteu in Picolotti, supro note 22S at 1S.

S61
Henores, tronsloteJ onJ reporteJ in COHRE(b), supro note 21S, at 111.

S62
See Picolotti supro note 22S, at 1S: COHRE(b), supro note 21S, at 111.

S6S
See supro Pait 2, this Section.
66
The Paynemil iuling was echoeu by a subsequent juugment in anothei menores case,
this time foi the valentina Noite Colony.
S64
An eaily juugment in the case oiueieu the fiee
piovision of 1uu l¡p¡u to eveiy community inhabitant within 48 houis.
S6S
At the appellate
level, this oiuei was seen as effectively incentivizing the illegal occupation of lanu by
iequiiing the piovisions of watei to those without title. The oiiginal iuling was theiefoie
stiuck uown. Foitunately, the Supieme Couit oveituineu the appellate finuing, again citing
Aiticles 41
S66
anu 4S
S67
of the Constitution. This time, howevei, the Couit explicitly
mentioneu the iight to watei, iefeiencing ielevant piovisions of the CRC.
S68
The Couit also
citeu the pio homine
S69
anu eiga omnes
S70
piinciples of inteinational human iights law as
guiuing its inteipietation of state iesponsibility towaiu watei iights.
Both the human iight to watei anu its minimum coie have been most cleaily uefineu
in cases stemming fiom the piivatization woes of the 199us. In 0suorios onJ ConsumoJores
en Befenso Je sus Berecbos v. Aquos Jel 6ron Buenos Aires.
S71
a Couit of Fiist Instance helu
that the uisconnection of watei seivice, even foi lack of payment, violates the constitutional
iights to life anu health, but also implies a violation of constitutional tieaty obligations.
S72

In enunciating a iule of geneial effect, the opinion iecognizeu a iight to fieshwatei helu by
oll citizens iegaiuless of theii ability to pay.
In Coiuoba seveial yeais latei, the Couit again piotecteu watei iights in two utilities
cases, this time with cleaiei suppoit foi the minimum coie anu a moie uetaileu iefeience


S64
Tiibunal Supeiioi ue Iusticia ue Neuquén |Tiib. Sup. Nqn.] |Supeiioi Tiibunal of Iustice] "valentina Noite Colony,
Befensoiia ue Nenoies N¯ S c. Pouei Ejecutivo Nunicipal ¡ accion ampaio" (Aig.), summorizeJ onJ portiollv reporteJ in
COHRE(b), supro note 21S, at 11S.

S6S
lJ. The Couit also iequiieu that a means foi stoiing watei be given to those too pooi to be able.

S66
Ait. 41, Const. Nac.(iight to healthy anu balanceu enviionment).

S67
Ait. 4S, Const. Nac.(iight to contest the constitutionality of a state action).

S68
The CRC anu its piotection of watei access foi chiluien is among the eleven tieaties constitutionally incoipoiateu.
Convention on the Rights of the Chilu, supro note SS.

S69
The pio homine piinciple has been uefineu by the Supieme Couit of Aigentina to holu that it shall always be
piefeiable to opt foi the inteipietation that is less iestiictive to such iights. Coite Supiema ue Iusticia ue la Nacion |CSIN]
|National Supieme Couit of Iustice], 2S¡8¡2uu9, "Sebastián Aiiiola y 0tios ¡ causa," ¶2S (Aig.), ovoiloble ot
http:¡¡www.aiuslex.oig¡site_uocuments¡BR-u1S4S.puf ("Asi cuonJo unos normos ofrezcon movor protección. estos bobrón
Je primor. Je lo mismo monero que siempre bobró Je preferirse en lo interpretoción lo bermenéutico que resulte menos
restrictivo poro lo oplicoción Jel Jerecbo funJomentol comprometiJo.").

S7u
Eiga omnes, fiom the Latin meaning 'in ielation to eveiyone,' is useu in human iights law to iefeience obligations oi
iights helu by oi towaiu each peison equally.

S71
Iuzgauo Nacional ue Piimeia Instancia ue Noieno, Buenos Aiies |1a Inst. N. B.A.] |Lowei Couit of 0iuinaiy
Iuiisuiction], 21¡8¡2uu2, "0suaiios y Consumauoies en Befensa ue sus Beiechos Asociacion Civil c¡ Aguas uel uian
Buenos Aiies S.A. ¡ accion ampaio La Ley Buenos Aiies |L.L.B.A.] (2uu2-1SS9) ¶1 (Aig.), ovoiloble ot
http:¡¡www.legalmania.com.ai¡ueiecho¡fallo_asociacion_consumiuoi.htm.


S72
Namely, ICESCR, ait. 11, onJ CRC, ait. 24(2)(c).
67
to the iight's souice in inteinational law. Coiuoba is noteu foi its piogiessive constitution
anu watei coue, which piotect watei as a vital element anu piioiitize communal ovei
piivate use.
S7S
In 0uevoJo Hiquel Anqel v. Aquos CorJobesos.
S74
the Fiist Instance Couit
mouifieu a contiactual obligation between a piivate inteiest anu consumeis, incieasing the
fiee piovision of uaily watei fiom Su to 2uu liteis pei householu pei uay. The Couit helu
that "the piovision of a minimum quantity of potable watei. because of its public utility
chaiactei must be guaianteeu to all inuiviuuals." Fifty liteis was iuleu insufficient to meet
that minimum as it "cannot guaiantee bosic conJitions of bvqiene onJ beoltb."
S7S

In Horcbisio Iose Boutisto v. CiuJoJ Je CórJobo.
S76
the applicants allegeu that seveial
pooi, outlying neighboihoous suffeieu fiom an unconstitutional lack of access to the public
watei system anu that existing iesouices weie being contaminateu by untieateu sewage.
S77

Although the finuing was again piincipally baseu in the iight to health,
S78
the Couit also
iefeienceu a iight to watei baseu in Aiticle 2S of the 0BBR, Aiticles 11 anu 12 of the
ICESCR anu ueneial Comment 1S. The Couit's uetaileu attention to the inteinational
uefinition miiioieu the innovative Hinors 0poso juugment fiom Inuonesia.
S79
The Couit
once again suppoiteu a minimum coie foi watei by iequiiing the piovision of 2uu liteis
pei householu pei uay until it coulu ensuie full access to public watei seivice.
The stanuaiu set in Bautista has been uphelu in othei cases as iecently as 2uu7,
when the Special Auministiative Chambei foi Buenos Aiies confiimeu that the state is
iesponsible foi pioviuing vulneiable segments of the population with auequate watei
access, even if this woik iequiies costly measuies.

Noie significantly, the Couit useu its
uecision to conuemn any "ietiogiessive" measuies as blatantly illegal, miiioiing the


S7S
Ait. 66.2, Constitución de la Provincia de Córdoba Api. 26, 1987 (Coiuoba, Aig.): Law No. SS89 as mouifieu by
Law No. 8928, Cba., Nay 28, 197S, B.0. 21¡uS¡197S (Aig.), ovoiloble ot
http:¡¡www.tououeiuie.com.ai¡leyes¡coiuoba¡SS89.htm. See olso Picolotti, supro note 22S, at 12.

S74
Iuzgauo ue Piimeia Instancia ue Coiuoba |1a Inst. Cba.] |Coiuoba Lowei Couit of 0iuinaiy Iuiisuiction], 8¡4¡2uu2,
"0uevauo Niguel Angel y otios c¡ Aguas Coiuobesas S.A ¡ accion ampaio" (Aig.), portiollv reporteJ in COHRE(b), supia
note 2u6, at 11S.

S7S
0uotation taken fiom a tianslation anu summeiy of the case fiom Biet Theile, Biiectoi of Litigation foi C0BRE (Iune
21, 2u1u)(on file with the authoi)(emphasis auueu).

S76
Iuzgauo ue Piimeia Instancia ue Coiuoba |1a Inst. Cba.] |Coiuoba Lowei Couit of 0iuinaiy Iuiisuiction],
19¡1u¡2uu4, "Naichisio Iosé Bautista ¡ accion ampaio" (Boutisto) (Aig.), portiollv reporteJ in Winklei, supro note S6, at
1u.

S77
See Gorsboth, supro note 2S, at 16.

S78
Boutisto, at ¶8, reporteJ in Winklei, supro note S6, at 11 ("The Couit continueu to point out that the iight to health
incluues measuies to be taken to pievent uamages to health such as pioviuing watei anu obliges |sic] the State to take
positive measuies.").

S79
See Numbei S, this Section.
68
language in both ueneial Comments S anu 1S.
S8u
Although theie aie othei iulings fiom
seveial uiffeient piovinces iegaiuing watei iights, the Aigentine stanuaiu as uevelopeu in
the cases above is illustiative of that countiy's lauuable appioach in iecent yeais.
S81



7. Colombia

Colombia faces uevelopment conceins similai to Aigentina's, incluuing insufficient
connection to public anu piivate utilities. As in Aigentina, Colombian couits have uefenueu
access to watei foi peisonal consumption as a funuamental iight since the miu-199us,
ueiiving it piimaiily fiom othei constitutional iights, but with uefinitional iefeience to the
pievailing inteinational consensus. Colombians litigate foi iights piotection thiough an
occión Je tutelo. oi wiit foi constitutional piotection similai to an occión omporo.
S82

Colombia is a paity to the ICESCR, anu its piovisions must be useu to inteipiet sections of
the Constitution.
S8S
This gives some national weight to the ueneial Comments of the CESCR.
Colombia is noteu foi its explicit suppoit of the minimum coie concept in othei socio-
economic iights cases, although the stanuaiu has nevei been applieu to watei iights.
The juuicial stanuaiu foi watei iights piotection was fiist uevelopeu in the Corlos
Alfonso Roios RoJriquez case,
S84
wheie the Constitutional Couit helu the public seivice of
watei to be a funuamental constitutional iight linkeu to the iights to life, anu health.
S8S
"In
piinciple," ieasoneu the opinion, "watei is the souice of life anu a lack of seivice iuns


S8u
See qenerollv Iuzgauo Nacional ue Piimeia Instancia |1a Inst.] |National Lowei Couit of 0iuinaiy Iuiisuicton],
1S¡u8¡2uu7, "Asociacion Civil poi la Igualuau y la Iusticia c. uobieino ue la Ciuuau ue Buenos Aiies ¡ acccion ampaio," ¶
XXI (Aig.), ovoiloble ot http:¡¡www.newsmatic.e-
pol.com.ai¡inuex.php.pub_iu=99&siu=1u46&aiu=229S6&eiu=28&NombieSeccion=Iuiispiuuencia%2uCiuuau%2uue%2
uBs.As&Accion=veiAiticulo.

S81
See e.q.. Coite Supiema ue Iusticia ue la Nacion |CSIN] |National Supieme Couit of Iustice], 18¡9¡2uu7, "Befensoi uel
Pueblo ue la Nacion c. Estauo Nacional ¡ accion ampaio" (Aig.) ovoiloble ot http:¡¡www.ueiecho-
compaiauo.oig¡sentencias¡aigTobas.htm.

S82
Liteially, "tiusteeship." Piactice establisheu by L. 2S91, noviembie 19, 1991, 4u Diario Oficial |B.0.] 16S (Colom.).

S8S
Constitución Political de Colombia [C.P.] Iuly S, 1991, § 9S. Colombia iatifieu the ICESCR in 1969.

S84
Coite Constitucional (C.C.) |Constitutional Couit], Sala Cuaita ue Rev., noviembie S, 1992, Expeuiente 1992-1848
(Corlos Alfonso Roios RoJriquez) (Colom.), http:¡¡www.coiteconstitucional.gov.co¡ielatoiia¡1992¡T-S78-92.htm
All Con. Couit uecisions aie available online at http:¡¡www.coiteconstitucional.gov.co¡ielatoiia¡iauicauoi¡buscai.php.

S8S
C.P. ait. 11, ait. 49 (Col.) (iespectively). The iight to health is fiameu as an obligation. "|P]ublic health anu
enviionmental piotection aie public seivices foi which the state is iesponsible. All inuiviuuals aie guaianteeu access to
seivices that piomote, piotect, anu iehabilitate public health." (Authoi's tianslation). Aiticle 42 of the law establishing the
piactice of tutelo is also commonly iefeienceu as a souice of a iight to public utility seivices as it establishes legal
iecouise in cases of uisagieement ovei piovision. See L. 2S91 of Nov. 19, 1991 (Col.).
69
contiaiy to the funuamental, inuiviuual iight to life."
S86
That stanuaiu was fuithei
uevelopeu in a seiies of subsequent watei iights cases, which specifieu: (a) that the iight to
watei is baseu in human neeu as ueiiveu fiom Aiticle S66 of the Constitution:
S87
(b) the
iight to watei is only enfoiceable in situations wheie actual human consumption is at
stake:
S88
anu (c) the iight to watei is fuithei baseu in the iight to human uignity.
S89

Iuugments of the last seveial yeais have begun to exploie the paiticulais of such a
constitutionally-ueiiveu iight with explicit iefeience to inteinational legal souices like the
ICESCR, ueneial Comment 1S, anu iegional case law.
S9u
In Ilor FniJ Iimenez Je Correo v.
HeJellin Public Componies,
S91
the Constitutional Couit oiueieu the seivice ieconnection of
a S6-yeai olu woman suffeiing fiom a seiious illness anu incapable of affoiuing hei utility
bill. Citing ueneial Comment 1S, the Couit helu that paities to the ICESCR, "have a special
obligation to pioviue those who uo not have sufficient means with the necessaiy watei.
|anu] to ensuie that watei is affoiuable, states paities must auopt the necessaiy measuies
which may incluue, intei alia: . fiee oi low cost watei."
S92
ueneial Comments of the CESCR
weie helu to be pait of the Colombian "constitutional block" anu theiefoie authoiitative in
unueistanuing constitutional iights.
S9S
Such an asseition implicitly embiaces the minimum
coie (as pait of the CESCR's inteipietation) even if not explicitly iefeiencing the concept.
In Rolfv Ilórez v. lo AlcolJio v Fmpresos Hunicipoles two yeais latei,
S94
the Couit
establisheu the piioiity of chiluien in watei piovision by quoting aiticle 24(2) of the


S86
Corlos Alfonso Roios RoJriquez. at §6.

S87
See e.q.. Coite Constitucional (C.C.) |Constitutional Couit], Sala Séptima ue Rev., junio 18, 199S, Expeuiente 199S-
971S (Ciro FJilberto linores Beiorono) (Colom.), http:¡¡www.coiteconstitucional.gov.co¡ielatoiia¡199S¡T-2S2-9S.htm:
Coite Constitucional (C.C.) |Constitutional Couit], Sala Séptima ue Rev., uiciembie 9, 2uu9, Expeuiente 2uu9-2S44S12
(Horio Je Iesus HeJino Pérez) (Colom.), http:¡¡www.coiteconstitucional.gov.co¡ielatoiia¡1994¡T-S2S-94.htm.

S88
See e.q.. Coite Constitucional (C.C.) |Constitutional Couit], Sala Cuaita ue Rev., agosto 1, 2uu2, Expeuiente 2uuS-
697667 (Iorqe Eernon 6omez Ánqel) (Colom.), http:¡¡www.coiteconstitucional.gov.co¡ielatoiia¡2uuS¡T-41u-uS.htm.

S89
See e.q.. Coite Constitucional (C.C.) |Constitutional Couit], Sala Séptima ue Rev., abiil 24, 2uu6, Expeuiente 2uu6-
12662u9 (Alvoro 6orcio CovieJes) (Colom.), http:¡¡www.coiteconstitucional.gov.co¡ielatoiia¡2uu6¡T-S17-u6.htm
(a uetention case asseiting the iight to watei as non-ueiioguable in times of legal inteinment).

S9u
See qenerollv § II, this essay.

S91
Coite Constitucional (C.C.) |Constitutional Couit], Sala Piimeia ue Rev., abiil 17, 2uu7, Expeuiente 2uu7-1426818
(Ilor FniJ Iiménez Je Correo) (Colom.), http:¡¡www.coiteconstitucional.gov.co¡ielatoiia¡2uu7¡T-27u-u7.htm.


S92
Ilor FniJ Iiménez Je Correo, at ¶4 (""tienen lo obliqoción especiol Je focilitor oquo v qorontizor el suministro necesorio
Je oquo o quienes no Jisponen Je meJios suficientes" . . . los FstoJos Portes {.)" la auopcion ue "{.) politicos oJecuoJos en
moterio Je precios; como el suministro Je !"#!$!$%&%#'($")!%#*%( o o boio costo"").

S9S
lJ. ("{ii) Fl Pocto lnternocionol Je Berecbos Socioles. Fconómicos v Culturoles boce porte Jel bloque Je
constitucionoliJoJ. omplionJo el espectro Je protección por vio Je tutelo Je los Jerecbos funJomentoles").

S94
Coite Constitucional (C.C.) |Constitutional Couit], Sala Séptima ue Rev., uiciembie 9, 2uu9, Expeuiente 2uu9-
2S44S12 (Rolfv Ilórez) (Colom.), http:¡¡www.coiteconstitucional.gov.co¡ielatoiia¡1994¡T-S2S-94.htm.
7u
CRC.
S9S
Nost iecently, in Corolino Hurcio 0tórolo v. Fmpresos Publicos Je Nievo F.S.P,
S96
the
Constitutional Couit caiefully outlineu the content of the Colombian iight to watei by
quoting Aiticles 11 anu 12 of the ICESCR, the stanuaius of availability, quality anu
accessibility fiom ueneial Comment 1S, CRC, CEBAW, case law fiom the Intei-Ameiican
Couit anu even the Repoit of the 0CBCR (2uu7).
S97
By citing eleven pievious watei iights
uecisions fiom the Constitutional Couit, the opinion effectively ciowneu the 0torolo
juugment as the culmination of those pievious effoits.
S98

The minimum coie was fiist explicitly iefeienceu by the Constitutional Couit in
1997,
S99
anu was useu to iuentify the minimum coie of iights like housing anu health as
iecently as 2uu8.
4uu
In the case luz Horv 0sorio Polocio v. Colpotrio FSP,
4u1
the Couit
embiaceu the CESCR's iight to health fiamewoik by giving veiy uetaileu content to the
minimum coie, uefining immeuiately enfoiceable aspects of the iight fiom those subject to
piogiessive iealization anu iesouice constiaints.
4u2
Similai piotection has not yet been
extenueu to the iight to watei, piobably uue to the Couit's stanuing case law iequiiing
utilities payment even foi the financially incapable. Seivice suspensions aie often uphelu in
Colombia, anu the Constitutional Couit has asseiteu that "|p]oveity uoes not exempt one


S9S
lJ. at 4.

S96
Coite Constitucional (C.C.) |Constitutional Couit], Sala Segunua ue Rev., agosto 6, 2uu9, Expeuiente 2uu9-22S9S19
(Corolino Hurcio 0tórolo) (Colom.), http:¡¡www.coiteconstitucional.gov.co¡ielatoiia¡2uu9¡T-S46-u9.htm.

S97
lJ. at S.1-S.S.

S98
lJ. at S cites T-SS9¡9S, T-244¡94, T-S2S¡94, T-u92¡9S, T- S79¡9S, T-41S¡9S, T-41u¡uS, T-11u4¡uS, T-27u¡u7, T-
u22¡u8 anu T-888¡u8.

S99
Coite Constitucional (C.C.) |Constitutional Couit], mayo 28, 1997, Expeuiente B-1644, ¶S (Colom.),
http:¡¡www.coiteconstitucional.gov.co¡ielatoiia¡1997¡C-S21-97.htm ("Los ueiechos humanos incoipoian la nocion ue
que es uebei ue las autoiiuaues aseguiai, meuiante piestaciones públicas, un &U'%&1*2#*41'2%4%1'#-*-14%($#-*
&(0#"%($#-*(*012(-*$(-*I#"-1'(-, iuea ue la cual suigen los llamauos ueiechos humanos ue segunua geneiacion o
ueiechos economicos, sociales y cultuiales.") (emphasis auueu).

4uu
See. e.q.. Coite Constitucional (C.C.) |Constitutional Couit], septiembie 2S, 2uuS, Expeuiente T-7SS112 y 7S66u9
(FJuorJo Honteoleqre lvnett) (Colom.), http:¡¡www.coiteconstitucional.gov.co¡ielatoiia¡2uuS¡T-8S9-uS.htm: Coite
Constitucional (C.C.) |Constitutional Couit], eneio 22, 2uu4, Expeuiente T-6SSu1u (Honuel Iose CepeJo Fspinoso)
(Colom.), http:¡¡www.coiteconstitucional.gov.co¡ielatoiia¡2uu4¡T-u2S-u4.htm: Coite Constitucional (C.C.)
|Constitutional Couit], julio 27, 2uu6, Expeuiente T-119276S (Horco 6erorJo Honrov Cobro) (Colom.),
http:¡¡www.coiteconstitucional.gov.co¡ielatoiia¡2uu6¡T-S8S-u6.htm: Coite Constitucional (C.C.) |Constitutional Couit],
julio S1, 2uu8, Expeuiente T-1281247 (Horco 6erorJo Honrov Cobro) (Colom.),
http:¡¡www.coiteconstitucional.gov.co¡ielatoiia¡2uu8¡T-76u-u8.htm.

4u1
Coite Constitucional (C.C.) |Constitutional Couit], Sala Segunua ue Rev., julio S1, 2uu8, Expeuiente 2uuS-1281247, T-
128966u, T-1Su8199, T-1S1u4u8, T-1S1S769, T-1S2u4u6, T-1S282SS, T-1SSS279, T-1SS784S, T-1SS86Su, T-1SSuSuu,
T-164S29S, T-1646u86, T-18SSS47, T-18S899S, T-18S8999, T-18S9u88, T-1862uS8, T-1862u46, T-1866944, T-
1867S17, y T-1867S26 (luz Horv 0sorio Polocio) (Colom.), http:¡¡www.coiteconstitucional.gov.co¡ielatoiia¡2uu8¡T-
76u-u8.htm.

4u2
Foi an analysis of the case see Alicia Ely Yamin & 0scai Paiia veia, Tbe Role of Courts in Befininq Eeoltb Policv: Tbe
Cose of tbe Colombion Constitutionol Court (Baivaiu Law School Buman Rights Piogiam Woiking Papei, 2uu8), ovoiloble
ot http:¡¡www.law.haivaiu.euu¡piogiams¡hip¡uocuments¡Yamin_Paiia_woiking_papei.puf. Foi a basic explanation of
the Colombian couit's appioach to the minimum coie see Chowuhuiy, supro note 274, at 8.
71
fiom the social obligation to help finance goveinment expenuituie."
4uS
The Couit uemanus
"iesponsible use," iequiiing the pooi to uiaw only what they can affoiu. Stiangely, this
position was ieiteiateu in 0torolo alongsiue that juugment's iefeience to inteinational
uocumentation in suppoit of economic accessibility.
4u4
Although such juugments uo not
constitute a iejection of the minimum coie appioach, they uefy an unueistanuing of the
minimum coie as uevelopeu in Section III anu as such, may make it haiuei to ieconcile such
an appioach with cuiient case law in the futuie.


0TBER REuI0NS
8. Continental Afiica, NENA, Noith Ameiica anu the Pacific

Befoie consiueiing the South Afiican cases, it shoulu be noteu that the piotection of
the human iight to watei in othei iegions of the woilu has met with vaiying uegiees of
success. Watei iights have founu incieasing suppoit in the Afiican Commission, as national
juuicial stiuctuies acioss Afiica sometimes cannot lenu effective iemeuy.
4uS
The
Commission has iecently uelimitateu state obligations towaiu watei access, incluuing
conuitions of accessibility, availability, acceptability anu quality baseu in CESCR ueneial
Comment 14.
4u6
Watei iights aie piotecteu as a ueiivative of the iight to the highest
attainable stanuaiu of health in Aiticle 16 of the Afiican Chaitei.
4u7
These cases, while
notable foi theii piotection of watei iights in the face of national failuie, uo not, howevei,
posit such a iight as explicitly baseu in inteinational law.


4uS
Coite Constitucional (C.C.) |Constitutional Couit], Sala Teiceia ue Rev., agosto 1, 2uu2, Expeuiente 2uu2-S8SS2u
(Ioiro Horoles) (Colom.), http:¡¡www.coiteconstitucional.gov.co¡ielatoiia¡2uu2¡T-S98-u2.htm.

4u4
Corolino Hurcio 0tórolo. supro note S96, at 4.

4uS
Watei iights have been most explicitly asseiteu in the 2uu9 juugment in C0BRE v. Suuan ieleaseu to the public in
Iuly 2u1u. C0ERF v. SuJon. supro note 8S. The aumissibility of the submission, contesteu by the Suuan, was peimitteu as
Suuanese couits weie helu to fail the test of effective iemeuy consisting in availability, effectiveness anu sufficiency as
uevelopeu in the Ioworo Cose. Bawua Iawaia v. uambia, Afi. Comm'n Bum. & Peoples' Rts., Comm. No. 147¡9S & 149¡96
¶S1 (Nay 11. 2uuu). The watei iights stanuaiu was pieviously elaboiateu in Fiee Legal Assistance uioup v. Zaiie, Afi.
Comm'n Bum. & Peoples' Rts., Comm. No. 2S¡89, 47¡9u, S6¡91 & 1uu¡9S (0ct., 199S). In this case it was similaily
"impiactical oi unuesiiable foi the complainant to seize the uomestic couits" as Zaiie woulu not even acknowleuge the
complaint befoie the Commission. lJ. at ¶ S7.

4u6
lJ.

4u7
This juiispiuuential stanuaiu was fiist set in Iree leqol Assistonce 6roup onJ 0tbers v. Zoire, but was ieiteiateu in
C0ERF v. SuJon. at ¶2u6-212.
72
The "vast majoiity" of goveinments in NENA have laigely ignoieu the giowing
consensus on watei iights. Thiough a seiies of inteiviews in 2uu7, Aswit Biswas founu that
"policy makeis in the majoiity of watei-ielateu institutions |in NENA] appeai to be eithei
unawaie, oi somewhat supeificially awaie, of this ueclaiation anu how it may affect theii
woik."
4u8
This is uespite the fact that the iegion - paiticulaily the Nile anu Ioiuan iivei
basins - is home to some of the woilu's most tioubling watei conflict.
4u9
As it happens, the
CESCR fiist mentioneu a "iight to watei" in iefeience to Isiael's tieatment of Palestinians
theie in 1998.
41u
The CCPR has also tieateu Isiael's watei policy with special attention,
specifying in its 2u1u Concluuing 0bseivations that the uenigiation of watei access foi
Palestinians constituteu a violation of the ICCPR iights to life anu equal piotection.
411

In Noith Ameiica, watei iights iemain laigely a mattei of civil piivilege anu not a
human-iights entitlement. The staunch unwillingness of Canaua to iecognize the iight to
watei is noteu above.
412
The 0niteu States has a long histoiy of ignoiing all socio-economic
iights, stemming fiom a Colu Wai uisagieement with the 0SSR. The 0.S. goveinment signeu
the ICESCR in 1979, but has not yet iatifieu the Covenant uue to both a lack of political will
anu to the official positions of seveial subsequent Piesiuents who consiueieu socio-
economic iights as only "uesiiable social goals."
41S
The 0.S. Supieme Couit notably helu in
linJsev v. Normet that "the |0.S.] Constitution uoes not pioviue juuicial iemeuies foi eveiy
socio-economic ill."
414
In a speech befoie the auoption of the ueneial Assembly iesolution
iecognizing a human iight to watei in 2u1u, the 0.S. iepiesentative stateu that theie is no


4u8
Biswas, HFNA, supro note 47, at 21S-216.

4u9
See e.q.. Amnesty International, Troubled Waters: Palestinians Denied Access to Water (2uu9), ovoiloble
ot http:¡¡www.ngo-monitoi.oig¡uata¡images¡File¡Amnesty_watei_112.puf (insisting that some Palestinians unuei
Isiaeli contiol lack basic access to watei even below 2u-2S l¡p¡u). The iepoit may have some shoitcomings in its
inteipietation of inteinational legal obligations incumbent on the Isiaeli state, howevei. Foi a ciitical analysis see Iason
Biozek, Review of Amnestv lnternotionol´s ´TroubleJ Woters: Polestinions BenieJ Access to Woter´ S(1) Water
Alternatives 161 (2u1u).

41u
Comm. on Economic, Social anu Cultuial Rights, Concluuing 0bseivations of the Committee on Economic, Social anu
Cultuial Rights, Isiael, 0.N. Boc. E¡C.12¡1¡Auu.27 (Bec. 4, 1998), at
http:¡¡www.unhci.oig¡iefwoilu¡uociu¡Sf6cb4S67.html ("The Committee uiges the State Paity to iecognize the existing
Aiab Beuouin villages, the lanu iights of the inhabitants anu theii iight to basic seivices incluuing watei.").*

411
This case is exploieu in supro § II, Pait A, note 1u7.

412
See supro § II, this essay.

41S
David Shiman, Economic and Social Justice: A Human Rights Perspective (1999), ovoiloble ot
http:¡¡www1.umn.euu¡humanits¡euumat¡hieuuseiies¡tb1b¡inuex.html.

414
Linusey v. Noimet, 4uS 0.S. S6 (1972).
7S
"iight to watei anu sanitation" in an inteinational legal sense as uesciibeu by the
iesolution.
41S
The 0.S. then abstaineu fiom voting.
The constitutions of seveial 0.S. states enshiine socio-economic iights (incluuing
watei iights) moie cleaily.
416
Ceitain cases, like Compoiqn for Iiscol Fquitv v. Stote of New
York. have even limiteuly suppoiteu the iuea of a minimum coie.
417
It is unlikely, howevei,
that state juiispiuuence will evei affect feueial stanuaius without the explicit assent of the
legislatuie oi executive, noting concein ovei sepaiation of poweis.
418

Finally, national couits in the Pacific iegion have been completely silent iegaiuing a
human iight to watei, uespite low levels of access in some places.
419
Although most of these
16 states have iatifieu the ICESCR, CRC, anu CEBAW, only thiee have establisheu national
human iights institutions.
42u, 421
Inteiestingly, neithei Austialia noi New Zealanu has
uevelopeu a bouy of law iecognizing watei as a human iight, uespite the fact that both
countiies have iatifieu the ICESCR.
422
In Austialia, ICESCR piovisions aie not uiiectly
enshiineu into national law,
42S
anu existing national legislation only paitially piotects
watei iights.
424
In New Zealanu, conceins ovei piivatization effoits begun in the eaily
2uuus have yet to piecipitate a iights-uefining challenge in national couitiooms.


41S
See Statement of the 0niteu States Repiesentative to the ueneial Assembly, reprinteJ in Piess Release, supro note 8S.

416
See e.q.. C.A. Const. ait. X, § 2.

417
Though neithei using the language "minimum coie" noi iefeiencing the CESCR, the Couit notes a "constitutional
minimum" foi the iight to euucation iepeateuly. Campaign foi Fiscal Equity v. State of NY, 1uu N.Y .2u 89S (2uuS), paia S:
Campaign foi Fiscal Equity v. State of NY, 8 N.Y. Su 14 (2uu6). This analysis is boiioweu fiom Chowuhuiy, supro note 281,
at 1u.

418
Concein foi constitutional sepaiation of poweis as iestiicting the juuicial enfoicement of socio-economic iights in
the 0niteu States miiiois that of the South Afiican system consiueieu below.

419
vanatau anu the Soloman Islanus, the pooiest in the iegion in teims of uiinkable watei, enjoy 7u% anu 6u% watei
supply coveiage foi theii populations, iespectively. Bata available thiough queiy at Boto Hininq 6otewov.
WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation
http:¡¡www.wssinfo.oig¡uatamining¡tables.html (last visiteu 0ct. 18, 2u1u) (select "upuate table" link with uefault
values).

42u
Austialia, New Zealanu anu Fiji.

421
The Pacific Region (0N uesignation) incluues Austialia, New Zealanu, Papua New uuinea, Solomon Islanus, vanuatu,
Cook Islanus, Fiji anu Samoa, Feueiateu States of Nicionesia, Kiiibati, Naishall Islanus, Niue, Tuvalu, Tonga, Nauiu Palau
(aiiangeu heie by iatification iate foi "coie" 0N Buman Rights Tieaties). See 0ffice of the Bigh Comm'i foi Buman Rights,
Regional 0ffice foi the Pacific, Rotificotion of Eumon Riqbts Treoties: AJJeJ volue for tbe Pocific Reqion (Iuly 2uu9),
ovoiloble ot http:¡¡pacific.ohchi.oig¡uocs¡RatificationBook.puf/*

422
Austialia iatifieu the ICESCR on 1u Becembei, 197S anu New Zealanu on 28 Becembei, 1978.

42S
Bespite this fact, the Bigh Couit founu in Hinister for lmmiqrotion onJ Ftbic Affoirs v Teob that Austialians have a
'legitimate expectation' that uomestic laws will be implementeu in a way consistent with the countiy's tieaty obligations.
See Hinister for lmmiqrotion onJ Ftbic Affoirs v. Teob (199S) 18S CLR 27S (Lee I. anu Caii. I.) (Austl.), portiollv reporteJ bv
Child Rights Information Network, http:¡¡www.ciin.oig¡Law¡instiument.asp.InstIB=14S1 (last visiteu 0ct. 27,
2u1u).

424
Thiough watei management anu iegulation. Among the most notable is the Woter Honoqement Act 2000 (Cth)
(Austl.). See Ianice uiay. lmplementinq tbe Eumon Riqbt to Woter in Austrolio. 17(1) Hum. Rts. Defender 1, 4 (2uu8).
74


AFRICA
9. South Afiica

South Afiica has hau its own uiamatic stiuggle with uevelopment, suffeiing a post-
colonial histoiy of institutionalizeu oppiession that continues to have socio-economic
iepeicussions touay. As iecently as 2uu7 the countiy suffeieu fiom 4u% unemployment
anu a Su% lack of access to suitable housing, incluuing pipeu watei.
42S
The 1996 "post-
apaitheiu" Constitution, heialueu foi its "ieuistiibutive"
426
anu "tiansfoimative"
427

potential, sought to ieuiess uevelopment woes by enshiining often oveilookeu iights such
as the iight to watei.
428
In fact, nowheie in the woilu is the iight to watei moie cleaily
piotecteu by legislation, the minimum coie moie explicitly iefeienceu in juiispiuuence,
anu case law moie impoitant as a mouel foi inteinational ieplication. 0nfoitunately, the
woik of the South Afiican Constitutional Couit - the final aibitei foi these uecisions - has
iestiicteu uiiect access to socio-economic iights piotection,
429
causing many to consiuei
the Constitution has having faileu to iealize its potential.
4Su

Since the 199us, couits have attempteu to uistinguish constitutional iesponsibility
fiom the obligations within inteinational covenants like the ICESCR (which South Afiica
has signeu but not iatifieu).
4S1
This tienu has leu to a iejection of ceitain aspects of the


42S
Lehman, supro note 167, at 164.

426
Petei Bonu & Iackie Bugaiu, Woter. Eumon Riqbts onJ Sociol Conflict: Soutb Africon Fxperiences. 2uu8(1) L. Soc.
Just. & Global Dev. J. S (Feb. 11, 2uu8), http:¡¡www2.waiwick.ac.uk¡fac¡soc¡law¡elj¡lgu¡2uu8_1¡bonu_uugaiu.

427
Nicholas Baysom, Constitutionolism. Hoioritorion Bemocrocv onJ Socio-Fconomic Riqbts. 8(4) S. Afr. J. Hum. Rts.
4S1, 4S9-6u (1992).

428
§27(1)(b) anu (2), Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, Act 108 of 1996 Feb. 4, 1997 ("(1)
Eveiyone has the iight to have access to. (b) sufficient foou anu watei. (c)(2) The state must take ieasonable legislative
anu othei measuies, within its available iesouices, to achieve the piogiessive iealisation of each of these iights.").

429
Bopes weie high following the 1996 finuing of the Constitutional Couit in its Ceitification Iuugment that socio-
economic iights "aie, at least to some extent, justiciable." See Certificotion of tbe Constitution of tbe Republic of Soutb Africo
1996 (77) SA 744 (CC) (S. Afi.), portiollv reporteJ in N. uabiu, Some Comments on Woter Riqbts in Soutb Africo. 8(1)
Potchefstroom Elec. L.J. S (2uuS), http:¡¡ajol.info¡inuex.php¡pelj¡aiticle¡viewFile¡4S4S6¡26991. See olso Bonu &
Bugaiu, supro note 41S, at 4.

4Su
See e.q.. Lehman, supro note 167, at 164.

4S1
South Afiica signeu the ICESCR in 1994 anu has yet to iatify it. § S9(1)(b), S. Afr. Const. 1996 iequiies the
consiueiation of inteinational law when inteipieting the Bill of Rights. The Constitutional Couit iuleu in Hokwonvone that
non-binuing iules of law aie also ielevant in tieaty inteipietation. S. v. Hokwonvone 199S (S) SA S91 (CC) ¶SS (S. Afi.),
ovoiloble ot http:¡¡www.saflii.oig¡za¡cases¡ZACC¡199S¡S.html. In some cases wheie this stanuaiu has been tacitly
iespecteu, howevei, (as in the Hozibuko CC case, infro n. 44S), tiue suppoit foi the chaiactei of the inteinational noim
has pioven illusoiy.
7S
inteinational uefinition foi socio-economic iights like watei, incluuing the concept of a
"minimum coie." These stanuaius have been abanuoneu in favoi of weakei, constitutional
tests of "ieasonableness." Nost iecently, South Afiican watei iights juiispiuuence has even
challengeu the piinciple of non-uisciimination anu the unueistanuing of the piopei iole of
the Couit at the heait of inteinational human iights.
Cases conceining watei iights stem fiom the inequitable uistiibution of iesouices
establisheu uuiing Apaitheiu.
4S2
As in Aigentina, piivatization policies aimeu at cost
iecoveiy faileu to auuiess inequity, causing shoitages, uisconnections anu a geneial
ietiogiession in access levels.
4SS
Legislative attempts to auuiess watei shoitage began with
the Afiican Congiess Paity's "uiowth, Employment anu Reuistiibution" (uEAR) policy in
1996. The policy taigeteu access levels by setting a Fiee Basic Watei (FBW) entitlement of
six kiloliteis pei month, anu piepaiu meteis weie installeu in some aieas to moie
efficiently iegulate piovision.
4S4
The policy was not baseu on a ueteimination of vital neeus
howevei, anu was not theiefoie "iights piotection."
4SS
Watei iights weie to be safeguaiueu
by the simultaneous passage of the Watei Seivices Act, ensuiing eveiyone "a iight of access
to basic watei supply."
4S6
anu iequiiing that state policy nevei "iesult in a peison being
uepiiveu access to basic watei seivices foi non-payment."
4S7
The two policies weie to woik
in conceit, but uisconnections peisisteu, anu cases weie soon biought to couit. Appeals
fiom the Bigh Couit to the Constitutional Couit have been commonplace in socioeconomic
iights litigation.
At the Bigh Couit level, piotection foi watei iights has been mixeu. In Honqele v.
Burbon Tronsitionol Hetropoliton Council.
4S8
a Bigh Couit in Buiban iuleu against the
applicant in a uisconnection case, aiguing that hei loss of access was legally justifieu by hei


4S2
Winklei, supro note S6, at 7.

4SS
lJ. at 4, citinq Rose Fiancis, Woter Iustice in Soutb Africo: Noturol Resources Policv ot tbe lntersection of Eumon Riqbts.
Fconomics. onJ Politicol Power. 18(1) Geo. Int’l. Envtl. L. Rev. 14u-196 (2uuS).

4S4
Winkei, supro note S6, at 8: Bonu & Bugaiu, supro note 426, at 9 (explaining that 2S l¡p¡u in a householu of eight is
highei than the national aveiage but still substantially lowei than the inteinational human iights noim). Between 1996
anu 2uu2 the FBW ieacheu appioximately 27 million South Afiicans. Bluemel, supro note S, at 979, cites Nillennium
Pioject Task Foice 7 on Watei anu Sanitation, Acbievinq tbe Hillennium Bevelopment 6ools for Woter onJ Sonitotion: Wbot
it will Toke 116 (Feb. 1, 2uu4), ovoiloble ot http:¡¡www.unmillenniumpioject.oig¡uocuments¡tf7inteiim.puf.

4SS
The 6 kilolitei limit was actually baseu on economic efficiency. See Bonu & Bugaiu, supro note 426, at 8, 11
(explaining the pieceuent of the policy, a pilot pioject in Buiban instituting an "infoimal settlement because it was
cheapei to give away the watei than to auministei bills foi it").

4S6
Watei Seivices Act, 1u8 of 1997, at § S(1).

4S7
lJ. at 4(S)(c). When an inability to pay can be uemonstiateu.

4S8
Honqele v. Burbon Tronsitionol Hetro. Council. 2uu2 (2) SA S9 (B) (S. Afi.).
76
iefusal to stop extiacting watei beyonu hei six-kilolitei allowance uespite hei inability to
pay - a holuing similai to the Colombian Couit in 0torolo.
4S9
The applicant asseiteu hei
iights in the Watei Seivices Act, but the Couit founu the Act's piotection incomplete anu
lacking legislative guiuance foi enfoicement.
44u
The Iuuge consiueieu watei piovision a
"policy mattei" linkeu to the availability of iesouices anu faileu to extenu Constitutional
piotection, as the applicant uiu not consiuei those iights in hei aigument.
441

Seveial months latei a Bigh Couit in Witwateisianu exhibiteu a moie open attituue.
In ResiJents of Bon visto Honsions v. Soutbern Hetropoliton locol Council,
442
the Couit
gianteu a iequest foi inteiim ielief to a pooi community uisconnecteu fiom the watei
supply. The juugment noteu that uisconnection is a piima facie bieach of the constitutional
obligation to iespect watei iights anu that the buiuen of pioof foi constitutional
compliance iests on the iesponuent.
44S
The legal stanuaiu in that case was similai to those
uevelopeu by couits in Inuia anu Aigentina, anu the juugment even iefeienceu the ICESCR
as infoiming the constitutional iight.
444
A Bigh Couit again uefineu anu piotecteu watei
iights in an eaily juugment of the Hozibuko case below. 0nfoitunately, howevei, the
opinion was oveituineu by the Constitutional Couit, which has uevelopeu a ieputation foi
ignoiing inteinational stanuaius in favoi of less-stiingent, constitutionally-ueiiveu
stanuaius foi socio-economic iights.
The Constitutional Couit's 6rootboom
44S
juugment focuseu on housing iights foi a
community of pooi South Afiicans subjecteu to "apaitheiu-style" evictions fiom theii
shanty town, Wallaceuene.
446
Although the case's oiiginal emphasis was not on watei, the
Couit helu that socio-economic iights must be consiueieu togethei, placing special
emphasis on watei iights in its constiuction of the "ieasonableness" test foi which the


4S9
lJ. at 46. This was befoie the imposition of pie-paiu meteis. See olso Coite Constitucional (C.C.) |Constitutional
Couit], Sala Segunua ue Rev., agosto 6, 2uu9, Expeuiente 2uu9-22S9S19 (Corolino Hurcio 0tórolo) (Colom.),
http:¡¡www.coiteconstitucional.gov.co¡ielatoiia¡2uu9¡T-S46-u9.htm, supro n. S8S.

44u
lJ. at 4S-44.

441
lJ.

442
ResiJents of Bon visto Honsions v. Soutbern Hetropoliton locol Council 2uu2 (6) BCLR 62S (W) (S. Afi.).

44S
lJ. at 6Su-6S2.

444
The juuge iequiieu the inteipietation of the Constitution in line with South Afiica's commitment to the ICESCR
which it hau signeu (but not iatifieu) in accoiuance with § S9(1)(b), S. Afr. Const. 1996. See ResiJents. at 629.

44S
Soutb Africo v. 6rootboom {6rootboom CC) 2uuu (11) BCLR 1169 (CC) (S. Afi.), ovoiloble ot
http:¡¡www.constitutionalcouit.oig.za¡Aichimages¡2798.PBF.

446
lJ. at ¶1u ("ieminiscent of apaitheiu-style evictions"). The iesiuents of the shanty community of Wallaceuene
eiecteu shelteis of founu mateiials without access to sanitation, electiicity oi othei public seivices.
77
juugment is often citeu.
447
In his opinion, Iustice Yacoob I. aigueu that the Constitution
448

iequiies the state to piogiessively implement socio-economic iights with a coheient
piogiam of action in a way that is reosonoble in both its conception anu implementation,
incluuing elements of balance, flexibility anu attention to shoit, meuium anu long-teim
neeus.
449
The ieasonableness stanuaiu was not meant to ueteimine the "best" policy
possible, but only whethei oi not the solution in question was acceptable.
4Su
State policies
in the piesent case weie founu to be unieasonable, because they faileu to "pioviue ielief to
those in uespeiate neeu."
4S1
While the juugment piotecteu the watei iights of the
applicants to some uegiee, it iejecteu an inteinational basis foi those iights.
Nany suggesteu that the Couit's inteipietation of the constitutional iight to watei
was "similai" (though not iuentical) to the CESCR's inteipietation in ueneial Comment
1S.
4S2
The majoi uiffeience, howevei, was that in setting a new stanuaiu of
"ieasonableness," the Couit effectively usuipeu the minimum coie appioach.
4SS
The
ieasonableness stanuaiu quietly boiioweu seveial elements of the minimum coie, but
weakeneu the oveiall concept by insisting that state policies aimeu at iights iealization
may be "ieasonable" even if they uon't always iesponu to the neeus of the most
uespeiate.
4S4
By contiast, the minimum coie woulu have likely iequiieu the immeuiate


447
The juugment in 6rootboom also noteu that watei conceins weie pait of the "lamentable" living conuitions of the
applicants as "|t]hey hau no watei, sewage oi iefuse iemoval seivices." 6rootboom CC, at ¶7. The ieasonableness
stanuaiu mouifies the stanuaiu of "iationality" establisheu by an eailiei case, Soobromonev v. Hinister of Eeoltb. Kwozulu
Notol 1998 (1) SA 76S (CC) (S. Afi.).

448
§26, S. Afr. Const. 1996.

449
6rootboom CC. at ¶41-4S. The auaption anu fuithei application of the legal stanuaiu fiist uevelopeu in Soobromonev
was consiueieu pioblematic as its ieasoning, though leauing to a coiiect juugment in that case, is consiueieu too iigiu foi
a Couit faceu with evei-moie complex socio-economic iights cases. See qenerollv. Scott & Alston, supro note 1S6.

4Su
The Couit helu that the obligations peimitteu a "wiue iange of possible measuies" anu that the Couit, theiefoie,
woulu "not enquiie whethei othei moie uesiiable oi favouiable measuies coulu have been auopteu." 6rootboom CC. at
¶41.

4S1
lJ. at ¶66. This juugment, which founu a violation of §26, S. Afr. Const. 1996 (the iight to housing), but no
violation of §28, S. Afr. Const. 1996 (iights of the chilu not subject to piogiessive implementation), is somewhat
confusingly the opposite of the Bigh Couit's finuing in an eailiei instance of the same case. See 6rootboom v. 0ostenberq
2uuu (S) BCLR 277 (C) (S. Afi.). The Bigh Couit mouifieu the stanuaiu set in Soobromonev with the test of
"ieasonableness" latei useu by the Constitutional Couit, but kept the same spiiit of juuicial uefeience foi the uecisions of
public officials maue in "goou faith" expiesseu by the Couit in the eailiei case.

4S2
See, e.g., Bluemel, supro note S, at 977-978. The Couit actually aigueu that the uefinition of "piogiessive
implementation" in ueneial Comment S was "in haimony" with the Constitutional uefinition. 6rootboom CC. at ¶4S. The
Couit faileu, howevei, to incluue any iefeience to the minimum coie.

4SS
The Couit hau alieauy iejecteu the appioach in a pievious case on the iight to health, as it was believeu to cieate a
pioblematic iight of inuiviuual petition foi immeuiate coie benefits that "shoulu not be constiueu" fiom the Constitution's
socio-economic piotection, especially consiueiing that such an entitlement woulu be "impossible" to auministei. Hinister
of Eeoltb v. Treotment Action Compoiqn (TAC) 2uu2 (S) SA 721, ¶26, S2, S4-SS (CC).

4S4
Authois like Chapman, Russell anu Bilchitz believe that Yacoob I's conclusion betiays an implicit minimum coie
calculus. See Bilchitz, supro note 176, at 498: Chapman & Russell, supro note 1SS, at 19. The weakness of the stanuaiu is
78
piovision of watei to meet the basic neeus of all Wallaceuene iesiuents. If such a policy
coulu not have been implementeu, the State woulu have been iesponsible foi justifying its
failuie with iefeience to available iesouices.
4SS
The Couit iefeiieu to the minimum coie
only as a "uetaileu, helpful anu creotive appioach to the uifficult anu sensitive issues
involveu in the case."
4S6
At the time, the Couit insisteu that it was "not necessaiy" to ueciue
the ultimate appiopiiateness of the appioach, leaving open the possibility of its futuie
use.
4S7

The uecision in 6rootboom incieaseu anticipation foi the Couit's subsequent
juugment in the 2uu9 linJiwe Hozibuko case.
4S8
The case involveu a suit by five iesiuents
of Phiii in Soweto, a uestitute uiban uevelopment built uuiing Apaitheiu on the outskiits of
Iohannesbuig. The litigation challengeu the imposition of the FBW Policy anu the
installation of piepaiu meteis in that uistiict. The iesiuents of Phiii weie pieviously
accustomeu to being chaigeu a flat iate foi what was, in ieality, an unmeteieu anu
unlimiteu supply of watei.
4S9
The suit allegeu that the FBW policy violateu the
constitutional iight to watei, anu that the installation of piepaiu meteis was (intei alia)
auministiatively unfaii, uisciiminatoiy in application, anu a violation of the Watei Seivices
Act.
46u
The Hozibuko case is a cleai example of the Constitutional Couit's iestiictive iights
piotection in contiast to the moie open juuicial attituue of the Bigh Couit.

betiayeu in the Couit's juugment itself, stating that if those measuies aimeu at iealizing the iight "though statistically
successful, fail to iesponu to the neeus of those most uespeiate, the |only] miqbt not fail the test." 6rootboom CC. at ¶6S
(emphasis auueu). Bilchitz finus a "claim that it may have been acceptable not to catei foi basic neeus "if the nationwiue
housing piogiamme woulu iesult in affoiuable houses foi most people within a ieasonably shoit time." Bilchitz. supro
note 176, at 499.

4SS
See supro § III.

4S6
6rootboom CC, at ¶17 (iefeiiing to the submissions of omici curioe who explicitly iefeienceu the appioach).

4S7
lJ. at ¶ SS.

4S8
Even befoie it was ueciueu, Hozibuko was expecteu to "test the limits of the enfoicement of socio-economic iight
thiough legal anu juuicial means." Bonu & Bugaiu, supro note 426, at 1S. Hozibuko v. Iobonnesburq (Hozibuko CC) 2u1u
(S) BCLR 2S9 (CC), ovoiloble ot http:¡¡www.saflii.oig¡za¡cases¡ZACC¡2uu9¡28.html.

4S9
This backgiounu is boiioweu fiom Petei Banchin, A Eumon Riqbt to Woter? Tbe Soutb Africon Constitutionol Court´s
Becision in tbe Hozibuko Cose. EJIL Talk! Blog (Ian. 1S, 2u1u), http:¡¡www.ejiltalk.oig¡a-human-iight-to-watei-the-
south-afiican-constitutional-couit's-uecision-in-the-mazibuko-case¡. Banchin mistakenly insists that the Couit iejecteu
the minimum coie appioach uespite the insistence of the legal team litigating the case. This is not stiictly tiue, as such an
appioach was nevei auvocateu by wiitten submission.

46u
Hozibuko CC. at 1S1. Anti-uisciimination is uphelu by §9, S. Afr. Const. 1996. All Couit submissions anu
juugments can be founu at: http:¡¡www.esci-net.oig¡caselaw¡caselaw_show.htm.uoc_iu=111uS26.
79
In the Bigh Couit opinion, Iustice Toska iecognizeu the oppoitunity to apply a
minimum coie calculus left open by the Constitutional Couit in 6rootboom.
461
Toska
suggesteu that a lack of infoimation iestiicteu the application of this stanuaiu in pievious
cases, anu that when sufficient infoimation is available, the Couit shoulu apply a minimum
coie calculus.
462
The juugment also noteu that watei iights lenu themselves moie easily to
a minimum coie appioach than housing iights, anu that a basic level of minimum piovision
(in this case Su l¡p¡u) - though iequiiing a case-by-case aujustment - is geneially
ueteiminable.
46S
In its juugment, the Couit maue extensive iefeience to inteinational anu
compaiative law on seivice uisconnections, stiongly suppoiting the global consensus on
watei iights.
464
In the enu, the Couit founu: (a) that piepaiu meteis cut off watei without
ieasonable notice, piohibiting explanation foi financial constiaint, (b) that the installation
of the meteis was auministiatively unfaii anu (c) that installation was caiiieu out in black
communities while moie leeway was given to white settlements - a uisciiminatoiy
piactice.
46S
The Bigh Couit's logic compiehensively suppoiteu inteinational watei iights
noims - incluuing the minimum coie - uespite theii stiict constitutional constiuction. This
stanuaiu laigely helu on initial appeal.
466
The Constitutional Couit's subsequent iepeal of
that uecision was so iestiictive, howevei, that it has thiown into question the entiie
inteinational consensus uevelopeu thus fai.
In its juugment, the Constitutional Couit concluueu that the FBW Policy (anu the
installation of piepaiu meteis) uiu not challenge the Watei Seivices Act oi the Constitution
anu was in fact "ieasonable" in its conceptualization anu execution. Essentially, the Couit
aigueu that iesiuents weie still ieceiving watei anu that the supply was only "tempoiaiily
suspenueu" behinu an automatic metei.
467
The Couit then confiimeu its piefeience foi the


461
It shoulu be noteu that a "minimum coie" analysis was nevei uigeu by the applicants in the case, noi was it by any of
the omici curioe. Hozubuko v. Iobonnesburq (Hozibuko EC). Case No. u6¡1S8S6 (2uu8) (BC, Wit.), ovoiloble ot
http:¡¡www.iatp.oig¡tiaueobseivatoiy¡libiaiy.cfm.iefIB=1u2SS9.

462
Hozibuko CC. at ¶1S1, continuing.

46S
Hozibuko EC. at ¶1S1-1S4, ¶SS, 126.

464
lJ. at S4-4u (citing the ICESCR, uC1S, anu CRC).

46S
lJ. at ¶92-94, 1S1, 1SS.

466
See Iobonnesburq v. Hozibuko 2uu9 (8) BCLR 791 (SCA), ovoiloble ot http:¡¡www.saflii.oig¡cgi-
bin¡uisp.pl.file=za¡cases¡ZASCA¡2uu9¡2u.html&queiy=%2umazibuko. The Supieme Couit of Appeals laigely uphelu the
juiispiuuential stanuaiu, vaiying the oiuei by changing the iequiieu amount of fiee watei fiom Su l¡p¡u to 42 l¡p¡u with
a two-yeai suspension penuing the iefoimulation of the goveinment's policy. Pie-paiu meteis weie uphelu as unlawful.
lJ. at ¶24, SS.

467
Hozibuko CC. at ¶12u. Piepayment meteis weie founu not to uisconnect watei supply as it "uoes not cease." but is
"bettei unueistoou as a tempoiaiy suspension in supply, not a uiscontinuation."
8u
"ieasonableness" test, iuling uefinitively that the socio-economic iights in the Constitution
uo not have a minimum coie, anu that to ueteimine an appiopiiate level of basic piovision
woulu be juuicially inappiopiiate. Iionically "piinciples of inteinational law" weie citeu in
suppoit of the Couit's uubious conclusion.
468
Citing the 6rootboom anu TAC cases, the
opinion helu that "the iight to access to sufficient watei. uoes not iequiie the state upon
uemanu to pioviue eveiyone with sufficient watei. iathei it iequiies the state to take
ieasonable legislative anu othei measuies to iealize the achievement of the iight to access
to sufficient watei, within available iesouices."
469
The Couit founu that the state's policy in
Phiii met the ciiteiia foi "ieasonableness," an assessment woith quoting at length as it
uistinguishes that stanuaiu fiom the minimum coie.

|T]o iaise the fiee basic watei allowance foi all so that it woulu be sufficient to covei those
stanus |uwellings] with many iesiuents woulu be expensive anu inequitable, foi it woulu
uispiopoitionately benefit stanus with fewei iesiuents.
Establishing a fixeu amount pei stanu will inevitably iesult in unevenness because those
stanus with moie inhabitants will have less watei pei peison than those stanus with fewei
iesiuents. This is an unavoiuable iesult of establishing a univeisal allocation. Yet it seems cleai
on the City's eviuence that to establish a univeisal pei peison allowance woulu be
auministiatively buiuensome anu costly, if possible at all. The fiee basic watei allowance is
geneious in ielation to the aveiage householu size in Iohannesbuig. Inueeu, in ielation to 8u% of
householus (with foui occupants oi fewei), the allowance is auequate on the applicant's case. In
the light of this eviuence, coupleu with the fact that the amount pioviueu by the City was baseu
on the piesciibeu national stanuaiu foi basic watei supply, it cannot be saiu that the amount
establisheu by the City was unieasonable.
47u


The opinion ielies on a flexible calculation of utility in goveinmental piotection foi
watei iights that gieatly weakens the univeisal stanuaiu enshiineu in ueneial Comment
1S. Auministiative buiuen anu a uispiopoitionate benefit to some vis-à-vis otheis justify
the state's iejection of "univeisal allocation" as "costly, if possible at all." Similai ieasoning
in 6rootboom was aigueu by scholais like Bilchitz to be unethical, as "ieasonableness"
peimits the absolute uisenfianchisement of some as long as effoits aie focuseu on non-
essential impiovements foi otheis.
471
The stanuaiu in Hozibuko is even moie questionable,
howevei, as it peimits the State to ueciue against measuies that woulu iealize the


468
lJ. at ¶4u n. S1 (citing ICESCR ait. 2(1) anu CESCR uCS as outlining piinciples of inteinational law "consistent" with
the Couit's own limiteu unueistanuing of piogiessive iealization, iequiiing only continuous ieview in light of legality anu
"iesonableness". This is uespite the puipose of uCS to enu such supeificial anu un-nuanceu unueistanuings of the teim).

469
lJ. at ¶Su.

47u
lJ. ¶88-89.

471
Bilchitz, supro note 176, at 49S-S99.
81
minimum of the iight foi all if those effoits woulu uispiopoitionally benefit those alieauy
enjoying theii iights. In effect, the juugment aigues that it is bettei not to iealize the
minimum of the iight foi some if iealizing the minimum foi all woulu leau to inequitable
enjoyment, especially when such effoits woulu buiuen the state.
The juugment is notable foi its conceptual ietiogiession in two othei aieas. Fiist,
the Couit establisheu a uistuibing stanuaiu foi non-uisciimination. When confionteu with
the applicant's submission that the meteis weie only installeu in pooi, black aieas, the
Couit helu that the policy was not uisciiminatoiy as meteis hau not been installeu in oll
pooi black aieas.
472
Iackie Bugaiu chaiacteiizeu the finuing as "insane" anu "the most
utteily outiageous anu unacceptable of all the components of the juugment."
47S
The
stanuaiu seems to commit a conceptual fallacy. Since non-uisciimination is an absolute, a
finuing of uisciimination is instance-baseu anu uoes not iely on pioof of univeisality. If the
way a policy is caiiieu out leaus to one instance of uisciimination, the policy must be
challengeu as uisciiminatoiy until the uisciimination is stoppeu. To aigue that the piepaiu
metei policy in the Hozibuko case is non-uisciiminatoiy because it uoes not uisciiminate
eveiywheie, is like aiguing that a state policy auequately piotects the iight to life, even if,
in a limiteu numbei of cases, it uiiectly causes ueath. Non-uisciimination is a cential
element of all human iights, explicitly enshiineu by ueneial Comment 1S as pait of both
the uefinition anu minimum coie of the iight to watei.
The seconu (anu foi oui puiposes moie uistuibing) ietiogiession in the Hozibuko
case involves the limitation of the Couit's iole in socio-economic iights enfoicement. The
woik of this essay ielies on an unueistanuing of the iole of national couits as suppoiting
the inteinational consensus on socio-economic iights thiough content-giving.
474
The
Constitutional Couit in Hozibuko. howevei, effectively reiects such a iole foi itself, content
to let legislative measuies alone uefine the natuie of positive obligations. The Couit helu
that it is only iequiieu to ieview the ieasonableness of the chosen methou of
implementation, oi in cases wheie no steps have been taken, to iequiie only that the state


472
Hozibuko CC, at ¶1SS-1S7. The opinion helu that even if uisciiminatoiy, the puipose foi the implementation of the
piepaiu metei scheme was not auministiatively unfaii, unconstitutional oi even haimful foi Phiii iesiuents.

47S
Email fiom Iackie Bugaiu, Exec. Bii., Socio-Econ. Rts. Inst. of S. Afi., to the authoi (Iune 8, 2u1u u4:18am CST)(on file
with the authoi). Ns. Bugaiu also aigueu that the stance oveituins the lauuable anti-uisciimination juiispiuuence of
South Afiican couits in pievious socio-economic iights cases.

474
See supro. Pait A, B, this section.
82
act without uefining specific paiameteis foi that action.
47S
"Couits," the opinion insists,
"aie ill-placeu to make these assessments foi both institutional anu uemociatic ieasons."
476

Such a finuing again builus upon a conceptual misunueistanuing in 6rootboom. The Couit
fails to uistinguish between the iight itself - the uefinition of which iequiies that eveiy
state policy contain ceitain essential elements
477
- anu the "wiue iange of possible
measuies |that] coulu be auopteu by the state to meet its obligations."
478

When faceu with conciete instances of iights infiingement, the Constitutional Couit
uefieu the woik of eveiy othei national couit stiuggling to enfoice socio-economic iights in
the face of insufficient goveinmental piotection. This is uespite the oppoitunity affoiueu by
its unique constitution, juuicial stability anu inteinational notoiiety. South Afiica, in (a)
iefusing to base its uefinition of watei iights on the inteinational consensus, in (b)
iejecting a minimum coie calculus in favoi of a "ieasonableness" test, in (c) weakening
piotection against uisciimination anu in (u) uiminishing its own iole in iights constiuction,
pioviues a poweiful challenge to the piogiess achieveu thus fai in the uefinition anu
uefense of the human iight to watei.
479


Hitiqotinq Ioctors to ConsiJer

Befoie abanuoning hope foi the futuie of inteinational watei iights piotection,
theie aie thiee impoitant factois to consiuei iegaiuing the South Afiican cases above.
Fiist, uiffeiences between the Constitution anu inteinational stanuaius may somewhat
justify the Constitutional Couit's finuing anu may limit the application of that stanuaiu in
couitiooms abioau. Kenue suggests that the uiafteis of the piogiessive South Afiican Bill
of Rights "nevei intenueu to have the socio-economic iights piovisions cieate. an
inuiviuual iight to uemanu," laigely uue to the peiceiveu unfeasibility of such an


47S
Hozibuko CC. ¶62-6S, 67-68.

476
lJ. at ¶62.

477
e.g. non-uisciimination, basic piovision to all, consiueiation of accessibility, quality, etc. as ueiiveu fiom uC1S anu
those othei souices listeu supro. § II.

478
6rootboom CC, at ¶41. This aigument is at the heait of Bilchitz's essay. See supro note 176.

479
The intellectual ietiogiession of the case was consiueieu by some like Banchin to confiim the woiiies of scholais
like Young ovei the conceptual inueteiminacy of the minimum coie. Supro note 4S9, at ¶16 ("The sequence of juugments
in the Nazibuko case lenus cieuence to Katheiine Young's aigument in hei iecent aiticle"). See olso Young, supro note
1S9.
8S
appioach.
48u
The Couit itself iecognizeu this histoiical fact in the lanumaik TAC
juugment.
481
To ensuie that constitutional socio-economic iights woulu not too closely
miiioi theii bioauei inteinational counteipaits, the constitutional language was iestiicteu.
The Constitution, foi example, only enshiines the iight "to bove occess to. sufficient foou
anu watei" - a stanuaiu uiffeient fiom that of ueneial Comment 1S.
482
Fuitheimoie,
because South Afiica has not yet iatifieu the ICESCR, the Couit has no fiim obligation to
inteipiet the constitutional iight with iefeience to inteinational stanuaius, anu has
pieviously asseiteu in both the 6rootboom anu TAC cases that such an appioach woulu be
inappiopiiate.
48S
By stiictly basing its juugment on South Afiican law, the Couit may have
limiteu the possibility foi juuicial tiansmission abioau.
Seconuly, the juugment in Hozibuko may have aimeu at effectively iealizing some
iights piotection while safeguaiuing the constitutional sepaiation of poweis. The Hozibuko
opinion uiiectly cites concein foi sepaiation of poweis as the basis foi the Couit's ieticence
to enfoice constitutional iights moie stiictly.
484
The Couit's caieful ciicumspection of a
sensitive issue has been piaiseu by some South Afiican legal scholais, iefeiiing to similai
positions as "piagmatic" oi even "juiispiuuentially sounuei."
48S
In the enu, the Hozibuko
juugment may be less about iights enfoicement anu moie about the appiopiiate iole of the
juuiciaiy within the South Afiican constitutional system.
486



48u
Kenue, supro note 176, at 62S, 62S-629. But see Lehman, supro note 176, at 178 (aiguing that the ciiticism that the
Couit has nevei founu such a iight is unfaii).

481
Ninimum coie iequiiements weie iejecteu in the TAC case, as they weie helu to cieate a pioblematic iight of
inuiviuual petition foi immeuiate coie benefits that "shoulu not be constiueu" fiom the Constitution's socio-economic
iights as such an entitlement woulu be "impossible" to auministei. Hinister of Eeoltb v. Treotment Action Compoiqn (TAC)
2uu2 (S) SA 721, ¶26, S2, S4-SS (CC).

482
§ 27(1)(b), S. Afr. Const. 1996. Theie aie two othei textual uiffeiences between the two stanuaius. The
Constitution itself intiouuces the novel language of ieasonableness. Bilchitz notes that this teim mouifies the woiu
measuies anu not the iight itself. Bilchitz supro note 176, at 496. Seconuly, wheie the Constitution iequiies only action
"within available iesouices," the inteinational stanuaiu iequiies action "to the maximum of available iesouices." The
uiffeience, howevei, is geneially consiueieu to be unpioblematic as couits aie unlikely to negatively infei that the state's
obligation is lessoneu, noting piinciples of inteinational law goveining tieaty application like the vienna Convention. See
Scott & Alston, supro note 1S6 at 262-26S.

48S
The Constitutional Couit iuleu in Hokwonvone that non-binuing iules of law aie also ielevant in tieaty
inteipietation. S. v. Hokwonvone 199S (S) SA S91 (CC) ¶SS (S. Afi.), ovoiloble ot
http:¡¡www.saflii.oig¡za¡cases¡ZACC¡199S¡S.html.

484
Hozibuko CC. at ¶61: Banchin supro note 447, at ¶16.

48S
See Lehman, supro note 176, at 16S (pioposing that the couit's uelibeiate uisuse of the minimum coie calculus stems
fiom a uiscomfoit it has yet to fully aiticulate.) See qenerollv Kenue, supro note 176.

486
See Inteiview with ueoff Bunulenuei, in Litigating, supro note 2SS, at 96 ("That's wheie the ieal aigument takes
place: about theie the iole of the juuiciaiy staits anu stops.").*
84
Finally, juuicial iejection of the "minimum coie" coulu be a ieu heiiing, as the
concept may still finu impeifect suppoit in South Afiican juiispiuuence, albeit unuei a
uiffeient name. Some authois have even suggesteu that the Couit's appioach is essentially
suppoitive of the concept's application, anu only calculateuly iestiictive foi political
ieasons. Chowuhuiy notes that,

a smokescieen anu miiiois appioach is |peihaps] useful given the many legitimate ieasons the
couits have to not auopt an explicit minimum coie appioach such as, foi instance, lack of
infoimation
487
anu yet given the impoitance of the minimum coie appioach. So the iejection of
the minimum coie by the South Afiican Couits coulu be chaiacteiizeu as a ieu heiiing in that it
uistiacts fiom the actual machinations of the cases.
488


Theie aie many ways in which essential elements of the minimum coie aie piotecteu
by existing law, incluuing the Watei Seivices Act anu FBW policy,
489
anu the Couit's own
opinions seem to make extensive calculations on the "ieasonableness" of a policy baseu in
the amount of watei necessaiy to sustain human life.
49u
Still, the Constitutional Couit's
uecision in Hozibuko so uefinitively iejects the stanuaiu, that even if a ieu heiiing, it will
most likely limit explicit use of the minimum coie by South Afiican couits in the futuie.
In the enu, the ieasonableness test - whatevei its "flexibility" oi "appiopiiateness" to
the South Afiican context - weakens the inteinational stanuaiu of piotection foi the human
iight to watei. Reasonableness tieats piogiessive iealization as an open-enueu concept
within which iesults can be inuefinitely uefeiieu.
491
In fact, the ieasonableness test may
only "tiaue aibitiaiiness foi inueteiminacy" as it encounteis the same uifficulties of
inteipietation anu contextualization that the minimum coie woulu encountei in
application.
492



487
Chowuhuiy iefeis to the ueteimination by the Bigh Couit in 6rootboom that theie was not enough infoimation
available to uefine the appiopiiate amount of watei piotecteu by the iight. See Chowuhuiy, supro note 281, at 1S.

488
lJ. Chowuhuiy is iefeiencing the oiiginal uecision in the Bigh Couit case.

489
Both specify a 'flooi' foi basic piovision.

49u
The juugments in both 6rootboom anu Hozibuko CC, though effectively iejecting a minimum coie, still foimulate
opinions on the amount of watei iequiieu foi human subsistence baseu on expeit stanuaius. Bilchitz insists that the
ieasonableness calculus useu by Yacoob I. engages in a piocess of balancing foi minimum satisfaction anu piogiessive
iealization that fiist iequiies a minimum coie-like aumission that the achievement of a guaianteeu minimum is at all the
iesponsibility of the state. See Bilchitz supro note 176, at 499.

491
See Scott & Alston, supro note 1S6, at 26S.

492
See Banchin, supro note 4S9, at ¶22. See olso Sanuia Liebenbeig, Soutb Africo´s Fvolvinq IurispruJence on Socio-
Fconomic Riqbts: on Fffective Tool in Cbollenqinq Povertv? 6 L. Democracy & Dev. J. 1S9, 17S (2uu2).
8S
We finu in South Afiica an almost nationalistic uefinition of the iight to watei, which
suffeis in its juuicial isolation fiom inteinational legal noims. Even when citing
inteinational law, the Constitutional Couit uoes so in a tianspaiently inauthentic way -
with no iefeience to expeit opinion, legal consensus oi tiue teleology.
49S
Again the South
Afiican example pioves how uifficult it can be to finu effective piotection foi one's
univeisal human iight to watei without tiue iecouise to the ICESCR. This iealization is
especially bittei foi South Afiicans, howevei, as the iight to watei seemeu to have been
constitutionally embiaceu. Foitunately, the effect of the iuling above is limiteu by the
mitigating factois noteu heie. Although the South Afiican case piesents a significant
challenge, the wealth of piogiess maue in othei national couitiooms is fai fiom lost.


!D/*>1'4$32%'8*+#&(",-*

A. Brief Anolvsis

Thiough the woik of this essay, we have seen the symbiotic ielationship between
the uefinition of the iight at the inteinational level anu the use of that iight foi stakeholuei
piotection at home. Aftei ieviewing the case law above, it is possible to uiaw seveial
helpful conclusions about the natuie of this piocess foi the human iight to watei. These
conclusions shoulu pioviue guiuance foi fuithei, moie context-specific inquiiy.
Fiist, juuicial activism can be expecteu to have continueu impoitance in watei iights
litigation. 0f the seventeen states with constitutional iights to watei, only one (South
Afiica) is incluueu heie as a notable example of juuicial enfoicement. Eveiy othei couit
iefeienceu in this essay uevelopeu a stanuaiu of piotection foi watei iights by "constiuing"
piotection thiough anothei, justiciable legal entitlement. This juuicial activism seems to
inuicate a piessing neeu foi an explicitly couifieu univeisal human iight to watei
woiluwiue. Noie significantly, it signals the continuing iole the juuiciaiy can be expecteu to


49S
See e.q.. the Couit's mis-inteipietation of uCS, supro n. 468, anu its failuie to give legal effect to the full concept of
watei iights as outlineu in uCs S anu 1S uespite the pievious iuling in Hokwonvone. supro n. 48S. When citing a stanuaiu
of non-binuing inteinational law these inteipietative souices become all the moie impoitant in uiiecting the woik of a
national couit.
86
play in extenuing watei iights piotection to stakeholueis, making any unuue iestiiction on
juuicial competence in watei iights enfoicement (as in Hozibuko) especially woiiisome.
Seconuly, the case law ieveals the cential iole of the ICESCR in ensuiing effective
watei iights piotection. It is not obsolutelv necessorv that states iatify the ICESCR oi
enshiine it into national legislation to piotect watei iights. This is because at the national
level couits iely piincipally on a "local" basis foi the iight, even when ICESCR piovisions
aie uiiectly enfoiceable. Insteau of asseiting the iight to watei as a univeisal legal
entitlement, the national couits above giounueu theii aiguments in the iights to life (Inuia,
Pakistan, Banglauesh, Inuonesia, Colombia), well-being (Inuonesia), health (Colombia,
Aigentina), healthy enviionment (Inuia) anu uignity (Belgium, Colombia).
When couits Jo iefeience inteinational stanuaius in theii juiispiuuence, howevei,
the level of piotection foi the stakeholuei is stiengtheneu. The Belgian Couit of Aibitiation,
in citing the text of Agenua 21, founu an inuepenuent iight to uiinking watei even befoie
the legal basis foi such a iight has been uelineateu by the CESCR. In the Pollution Control
BoorJ case, the Inuian Supieme Couit similaily useu the Nai uel Plata Action Plan to posit
an inuepenuent iight to watei moie cleaily than in any case befoie oi since.
The ICESCR anu its ueneial Comments aie the stiongest inteinational legal souices
foi the human iight to watei to which a state may have iecouise. Cases explicitly
iefeiencing these texts have theiefoie uevelopeu the most compiehensive stanuaius of
piotection to uate. No Asian case law, foi example, is moie compiehensive in its
inteipietation of the human iight to watei than the lrriqotion Review juugment fiom
Inuonesia. That case uiiectly citeu ICESCR Ait. 12 anu ueneial Comments S anu 1S. Among
the countiies sampleu, Aigentina anu Colombia have uevelopeu the most nuanceu
unueistanuing of watei iights anu come closest to explicitly piotecting the minimum coie.
Both have uiiect constitutional access to the ICESCR.
In the ieveise, an unwillingness to inteipiet constitutional iights with iefeience to
the ICESCR can cause the seveie limitation of watei iights. Citizens of the 0niteu States anu
Austialia - both countiies with stiong legal systems - have no juuicial guaiantee of a iight
to watei, which may stem in pait fiom theii national iefusal to embiace the ICESCR.
Though limiteu juuicial activism in the Philippines has attempteu to expanu iights
piotection, a manifest unwillingness to enfoice the ICESCR has limiteu the extent of this
87
woik. Banglauesh anu Pakistan iemain incapable of Inuia's juuicial initiative foi the same
ieason. The pioblems of non-enshiinement aie most cleaily seen in the South Afiican
Hozibuko case. The couit theie chose to inteipiet constitutional watei iights with
iefeience to uomestic legal stanuaius alone, shunning the inteinational noim. The
inappiopiiateness of "ieasonable state action" as a benchmaik foi socio-economic iights
enfoicement has alieauy been uemonstiateu.
It may seem obvious to asseit that the ICESCR is the linchpin foi effective piotection
of watei iights, especially since the legal uefinition of the iight uepenus so much on
Covenant piovisions. In the enu, howevei, it is woith noting that iatification of the ICESCR
is not only an impoitant step in establishing iesponsibility foi watei iights in inteinational
law, but also a key element in national piotection as it pioviues couits with an invaluable
legal basis foi inteipietation. If one lesson can be uiawn fiom the pieceuing cases, it is this:
the moie cleaily accessible the ICESCR foi juuicial use, the gieatei anu moie nuanceu the
piotection foi watei iights.

B. ln Conclusion

This essay has uemonstiateu the legal basis foi an inuepenuent human iight to
watei, ueveloping fiom inteinational consensus into a ieality of positive law. The socio-
economic iight to watei, most appiopiiately ueiiveu fiom the ICESCR, has cleai noimative
content anu places equally cleai obligations on the state. Such an unueistanuing of watei
iights, boin as it is fiom the inteipietative woik of the CESCR, cannot be explaineu
sepaiately fiom the concept of its "minimum coie." This conceptual tool is meant to
uistinguish immeuiately binuing obligations fiom the full scope of the iight in a way that
suppoits the roison J´etre of the Covenant itself. The minimum coie, it is hopeu, will moie
auequately piotect stakeholueis by closing the loophole of "piogiessive iealization." The
complication amiust this claiity comes in the utilization of the iight to watei by national
couits, as this iight (no mattei its existence in inteinational law) lacks explicit
enshiinement in tieaty. If the iight to watei is to become a universol iight in piactice, the
integiity of the legal noim must be ieinfoiceu anu not weakeneu in its national application.
88
With one notable exception, the human iight to watei has yet to meet a seiious
challenge in its national application. If anything, national case law exhibits a ceitain
immatuiity in its conceptual uefense of the iight to watei. Nost juugments iefeience the
iight in vague, geneial teims, failing to outline its content anu obligations conclusively.
Without a uoubt, this pueiility is boin fiom the novelty of the concept itself anu its
tenuency to clash with entiencheu legal noims (ex. piopeity law) anu justiciability
iequiiements. Iuuicial hesitancy, howevei, may be weakening somewhat. National couits
have pioven incieasingly willing, especially in the past five yeais, to iefeience inteinational
stanuaius in theii juiispiuuence. Theie is plenty of ioom foi the futuie uevelopment of this
"gieen" juiispiuuence into moie matuie effoits of legal-constiuction, especially if couits
aie gianteu gieatei access to the ICESCR thiough legislation oi juuicial initiative. The
piocess outlineu above is only beginning, but so fai it seems to be going well.
It iemains too eaily to know how national couits will finally hanule the minimum
coie. An analysis of the above cases ieveals a gieat ueal of implicit suppoit foi such a
calculus, as couits have (a) maue iefeience to "essential minimum levels" foi socio-
economic iights (State of New Yoik, Inuia), (b) uistinguisheu immeuiate fiom piogiessive
iesponsibilities (Inuia, Aigentina), (c) establisheu specific amounts of watei to be pioviueu
fiee of chaige (Belgium, Aigentina), anu (u) embiaceu the full uefinition of the iight in
ueneial Comment 1S (Inuonesia, Colombia). Colombia has even applieu a minimum coie to
othei socio-economic iights like housing anu health. In none of the above cases, howevei,
has a national couit explicitly embiaceu this appioach foi the iight to watei.
Whethei lagging acceptance of the coie concept stems fiom its political
unpopulaiity, conceptual pioblems, oi only the lack of uevelopment in watei iights
juiispiuuence geneially, one thing iemains cleai: the ieplacement of a minimum coie with
a weakei stanuaiu of enfoicement can cause significant conceptual pioblems in iights
inteipietation. The Hozibuko case is the only notable challenge to watei iights since
ueneial Comment 1S was publisheu in 2uu2. By ieplacing the minimum coie with a
stanuaiu of "ieasonableness," the couit inteipieteu the constitutional iight to watei in a
way that unueimineu both the piinciple of non-uisciimination anu the vital iole of the
juuiciaiy. In uelibeiately limiting the uomestic enfoiceability of the iight to watei, the
Couit's ieasoning weakeneu the noimative founuation of that iight itself. As impoitant as
89
this juugment may seem in "giving content" to the human iight to watei, howevei, theie
seem to be significant uomestic factois at woik that woulu limit its tiansmission abioau.
0ui woik heie pioves the juuicial enfoiceability of watei iights - a fact that was
once consiueieu uubious foi all socio-economic iights. Noie than this, it suggests that
national couits aie themselves moving towaiu a moie open embiace of this justiciability. If
conceptually iooteu in inteinational noims, this legal shift may one uay ensuie the human
iight to watei tiue "univeisality" in piactice. With climate change, population giowth anu
othei ciises in human uevelopment yet unfoieseen looming befoie us, such a goal becomes
evei moie piessing.




! Tbis essov is submitteJ witb tbe outbor´s qrotituJe to Bret Tbiele ot C0BRE {for quiJonce).
6obriele 0uonJt. Ropboel lonqenscbeiJt onJ leonorJ lonqenscbeiJt {for proviJinq tbe best
intellectuol otelier possible). Scott Cbristion. ReJo KoJmiri. Horitxu Cbostellier. Kotelvn Biemon-
Youmon onJ Simone Ioqqers-RoJolpb {for frienJsbip onJ morol support). HobmouJ EomiJ {for on
inestimoble weoltb of potience) onJ Iobn onJ veronico Hc6row {for tbeir enJless love onJ provers)
AHB6.
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Iinol Bocument, NAN2uu9¡FB¡Boc.1, ovoiloble ot
http:¡¡www.namegypt.oig¡en¡RelevantBocuments¡Pages¡uefault.aspx (via "final uocument" hypeilink).

A Notionol Bisqroce. ConoJo´s Sbomeful Position on tbe Riqbt to Woter. The Council of Canadians (Nai. 2S, 2uu8).
http:¡¡www.canauians.oig¡watei¡uocuments¡WWB¡2uu9¡WWBFS-uSu9-RTW.puf.*

A.P. Pollution Contiol Boaiu-II v. N.v. Nayuuu, (2uu1) 4 I.L.R. 6S7 (Inuia), ovoiloble ot
http:¡¡www.ielic.oig¡content¡euu1u.puf.

Alicia Ely Yamin & 0scai Paiia veia, Tbe Role of Courts in Befininq Eeoltb Policv: Tbe Cose of tbe Colombion Constitutionol
Court (Baivaiu Law School Buman Rights Piogiam Woiking Papei, 2uu8), ovoiloble ot
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pieliminaiy piotection), ovoiloble ot http:¡¡www.esci-net.oig¡caselaw¡caselaw_show.htm.uoc_iu=4u1uSS (select
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(2uu1) BS 2uS8 Ashauh 26,
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Piess Release, ueneial Assembly, ueneial Assembly Auopts Resolution Recognizing Access to Clean Watei, Sanitation as a
Buman Right, by Recoiueu vote of 122 in Favoi, None Against, 41 Abstentions: Belegates also Confiim Nominee to Beau
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0ffice of Inteinal 0veisight Seivices, Elect Belaius to 0NEP uoveining Council, 0.N. Piess Release uA¡1u967 (Iuly 28,
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Special Rappoiteui on the Enjoyment of Econ., Social anu Cultuial Rights anu the Right to Biinking Watei Supply anu
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Special Rappoiteui on the Right to Foou, Sixtb Report on tbe Riqbt to IooJ, Comm'n on Buman Rights, 0.N. Boc.
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1uS

Statement of the Repiesentative of Canaua to the 0.N. ueneial Assembly (Iuly 28, 2u1u), reprinteJ in Piess Release,
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by Recoiueu vote of 122 in Favoi, None Against, 41 Abstentions: Belegates also Confiim Nominee to Beau 0ffice of
Inteinal 0veisight Seivices, Elect Belaius to 0NEP uoveining Council, 0.N. Piess Release uA¡1u967 (Iuly 28, 2u1u).

Statement of the Repiesentative of the 0niteu States to the 0.N. ueneial Assembly (Iuly 28, 2u1u), reprinteJ in Piess
Release, ueneial Assembly, ueneial Assembly Auopts Resolution Recognizing Access to Clean Watei, Sanitation as a
Buman Right, by Recoiueu vote of 122 in Favoi, None Against, 41 Abstentions: Belegates also Confiim Nominee to Beau
0ffice of Inteinal 0veisight Seivices, Elect Belaius to 0NEP uoveining Council, 0.N. Piess Release uA¡1u967 (Iuly 28,
2u1u).

Statute of the Inteinational Couit of Iustice, S9 Stat. 1uS1.

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(1992).

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Tamilnauu v. Binu Stone, (1981) (2) SCNR 2uS at 212 (Inuia), ovoiloble ot
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1u4
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57XAL5.>*G.G:.KV+L!7Y*

!*L8#'4)*+#I1"0-*('2*!3H$%4(0%1'-*ZV1M#"'&#'0($P*.'0#"OV1M#"'&#'0($*('2*F1'O
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Eumon Riqbts onJ Fxtreme Povertv. HoqJoleno SepulveJo CorJono. onJ tbe lnJepenJent Fxpert on tbe lssue of Eumon
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2uu8), http:¡¡www2.waiwick.ac.uk¡fac¡soc¡law¡elj¡lgu¡2uu8_1¡winklei¡.

Keiala v. N. N. Thomas, (1976) (2) S.C.C. S1u (Inuia), ovoiloble ot http:¡¡www.iishabhuaia.com¡sc¡view.php.case=S8S1.

Kuioua v. Ialanuoni, 8S PhiL. Rep. 171 (1949) (Phil.).

Linusey v. Noimet, 4uS 0.S. S6 (1972).

Honqele v. Burbon Tronsitionol Hetro. Council. 2uu2 (2) SA S9 (B) (S. Afi.).

Hozibuko v. Iobonnesburq (Hozibuko CC) 2u1u (S) BCLR 2S9 (CC), ovoiloble ot
http:¡¡www.saflii.oig¡za¡cases¡ZACC¡2uu9¡28.html.

Hozibuko v. Iobonnesburq. Case No. u6¡1S8S6 (2uu8) (BC, Wit.), ovoiloble ot
http:¡¡www.iatp.oig¡tiaueobseivatoiy¡libiaiy.cfm.iefIB=1u2SS9.

Hinister for lmmiqrotion onJ Ftbic Affoirs v. Teob (199S) 18S CLR 27S (Austl.), portiollv reporteJ bv Child Rights
Information Network, http:¡¡www.ciin.oig¡Law¡instiument.asp.InstIB=14S1 (last visiteu 0ct. 27, 2u1u).

Hinister of Eeoltb v. Treotment Action Compoiqn (TAC) 2uu2 (S) SA 721 (CC).

0lga Tellis v. Bombay Nun. Council, (198S) 2 S.C.R. S1 (Inuia), ovoiloble ot http:¡¡www.elaw.oig¡noue¡28Su.

0posa v. Fulgencio S. Factoian Ii. (Hinors 0poso), u. R. No. 1u1u8S (Iuly Su,199S) (Phil.), reprinteJ in SS ILN (1994) p 17S
et seq., portiollv reporteJ in Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions, Legal Resources for the Right to Water
and Sanitation: International and National Standards (2nu eu., foithcoming) (manusciipt at 292) (uiaft on file
with the authoi).

Paschim Banga Khet Nazuooi Samity v. West Bengal, (1996) A.I.R. 2426 (Inuia). ovoiloble ot
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ipoject¡humaniightscasesanumateiials¡cases¡nationalcases¡supiemecouitofinuia¡ni¡S94.

People's 0nion foi Civil Libeities v. 0nion of Inuia, (2uu7) 1 S.C.C. 719 (Inuia), ovoiloble ot
http:¡¡inuiankanoon.oig¡uoc¡4118S6¡.

People's 0nion foi Civil Libeities v. 0nion of Inuia, Wiit of Petition No. 196¡2uu1 (S.C. Nov. 28, 2uu1, oiuei gianting
pieliminaiy piotection).

People's 0nion foi Civil Libeities v. 0nion of Inuia, Wiit of Petition No. 196¡2uu1 (S.C. Nay 2, 2uuS, seconu oiuei gianting
pieliminaiy piotection), ovoiloble ot http:¡¡www.esci-net.oig¡caselaw¡caselaw_show.htm.uoc_iu=4u1uSS (select
"uownloau" hypeilink in left-hanu panel).

Peiumatty uiama Panchayat v. Keiala, (2uu4) 1 K.L.T. 7S1 (Inuia). ovoiloble ot http:¡¡www.elaw.oig¡noue¡141u,
portiollv reporteJ in Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions, Legal Resources for the Right to Water and
Sanitation: International and National Standards (2nu eu., foithcoming) (manusciipt at 287) (uiaft on file with
the authoi).

Philip Noiiis v. Couit of Appeals, u.R. No. 91SS2, 224 S.C.R.A. S76 (Iuly 16, 199S) (Phil.), ovoiloble ot
http:¡¡www.lawphil.net¡juujuiis¡juii199S¡jul199S¡gi_91SS2_199S.html.

Philippines v. Leo Echegaiay y Pilo, u.R. No. 117472 (Iune 2S, 1996) (Phil), ovoiloble ot
http:¡¡www.chaniobles.com¡cialaw199617.htm.

Piakash Nani Shaima v. Nepal Watei Supply Coipoiation, (199u) BS 2u47 ueciueu in
(2uu1) BS 2uS8 Ashauh 26,
ovoiloble ot http:¡¡www.elaw.oig¡noue¡1S8S, portiollv reporteJ in Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions, Legal
Resources for the Right to Water and Sanitation: International and National Standards (2nu eu.,
foithcoming) (manusciipt at Su4) (uiaft on file with the authoi).

ResiJents of Bon visto Honsions v. Soutbern Hetropoliton locol Council 2uu2 (6) BCLR 62S (W) (S. Afi.).
11S

Ryan v. Att'y uen., |196S] I.R. 294 (Ii.), portiollv reporteJ in Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions, Legal
Resources for the Right to Water and Sanitation: International and National Standards (2nu eu.,
foithcoming) (manusciipt at 28u) (uiaft on file with the authoi).

S. v. Hokwonvone 199S (S) SA S91 (CC) (S. Afi.), ovoiloble ot http:¡¡www.saflii.oig¡za¡cases¡ZACC¡199S¡S.html.

S. K. uaig v. 0ttai Piauesh, (1999) A.I.R. (All.) 41 (Inuia), ovoiloble ot http:¡¡inuiankanoon.oig¡uoc¡88u88S¡, portiollv
reporteJ in Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions, Legal Resources for the Right to Water and
Sanitation: International and National Standards (2nu eu., foithcoming) (manusciipt at Su8) (uiaft on file with
the authoi).

Sinuh Inst. of 0iology anu Tiansplantation v. Nestlé Nilkpak Ltu., (2uuS) CLC (Sinuh, Kaiachi) 424, (2uu4) (Pak.),
ovoiloble ot http:¡¡www.shehii.oig¡subpages¡nestle.puf, portiollv reporteJ in Malcolm Langford et al., Centre for
Housing Rights and Evictions, Legal Resources for the Right to Water: International and National
Standards 189 (2uu4).

Shala Zia v. WAPBA, (1994) SCNR 69S (Pak.), ovoiloble ot http:¡¡www.elaw.oig¡noue¡1S42.

Soobromonev v. Tbe Hinister of Eeoltb. Kwozulu Notol 1998 (1) SA 76S (CC) (S. Afi.).

Soutb Africo v. 6rootboom 2uuu (11) BCLR 1169 (CC) (S. Afi.).

Subhash Kumai v. State of Bihai, (1991) A.I.R 42u (Inuia), ovoiloble ot http:¡¡www.ielic.oig¡content¡e91u8.puf.

Suiya Bhungel v. uouavaii Naible Inuustiies, (199S) 2uS2 N.K.P. S7 (Nepal), ovoiloble ot
http:¡¡www.elaw.oig¡noue¡1849, portiollv reporteJ in Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions, Legal Resources
for the Right to Water and Sanitation: International and National Standards (2nu eu., foithcoming)
(manusciipt at 292) (uiaft on file with the authoi).

Tamilnauu v. Binu Stone, (1981) (2) SCNR 2uS at 212 (Inuia), ovoiloble ot
http:¡¡www.iishabhuaia.com¡sc¡view.php.case=7S11.

Tiibunal ue gianue instance |TuI] |oiuinaiy couit of oiiginal juiisuiction] Avignon, Nay 12, 199S, n. 1492¡9S (Fi.),
ovoiloble ot http:¡¡www.cace.fi¡juiispiuuence¡iets¡eaupiession¡tgi12uS199S.html, portiollv reporteJ in Centre on
Housing Rights and Evictions, Legal Resources for the Right to Water and Sanitation: International and
National Standards (2nu eu., foithcoming) (manusciipt at Suu) (uiaft on file with the authoi).

Tiibunal Supeiioi ue Iusticia ue Neuquén |Tiib. Sup. Nqn.] |Supeiioi Tiibunal of Iustice] "valentina Noite Colony,
Befensoiia ue Nenoies N¯ S c. Pouei Ejecutivo Nunicipal ¡ accion ampaio" (Aig.), portiollv reporteJ in Malcolm
Langford et al., Centre for Housing Rights and Evictions, Legal Resources for the Right to Water:
International and National Standards 11S (2uu4).


!>1'4$32%'8*KH-#"M(0%1'-*('2*=0(0#*!("0)*=3H&%--%1'-*Z>X=>+\>>!+[*

Comm. on Civil anu Political Rights, Consiueiation of Repoits Submitteu by States Paities unuei Aiticle 4u of the Covenant
(Isiael), 0.N. Boc. CCPR¡C¡ISR¡C0¡S (Sep. S, 2u1u), at http:¡¡uaccess-uus-
ny.un.oig¡uoc¡0NB0C¡uEN¡u1u¡448¡u6¡PBF¡u1u448u6.puf.0penElement.

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Peiiouic Repoit of Isiael (Auvance veision), 0.N. Boc. CCPR¡C¡ISR¡0¡S (Nov. 17, 2uu9), at
http:¡¡www2.ohchi.oig¡english¡bouies¡hic¡uocs¡Auvanceveisions¡CCPR-C-ISR-0S.puf.

Comm. on Civil anu Political Rights, Thiiu Peiiouic Repoit of Isiael uue in 2uu7, 0.N. Boc. CCPR¡C¡ISR¡S (Nov. 21, 2uu8),
at http:¡¡uaccess-uus-ny.un.oig¡uoc¡0NB0C¡uEN¡uu8¡4SS¡9u¡PBF¡uu84SS9u.puf.0penElement.

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Cultuial Rights, Canaua, 0.N. Boc. E¡C.12¡CAN¡C0¡4, E¡C.12¡CAN¡C0¡S, (Nay 22, 2uu6), at
http:¡¡www.unhci.oig¡iefwoilu¡uociu¡4SS77faSu.html.
114

Comm. on Economic, Social anu Cultuial Rights, Concluuing 0bseivations of the Committee on Economic, Social anu
Cultuial Rights, Inuia, 0.N. Boc. E¡C.12¡INB¡C0¡S (Aug. 8, 2uu8), at
http:¡¡www.unhci.oig¡iefwoilu¡uociu¡48bbuac42.html.

Comm. on Economic, Social anu Cultuial Rights, Concluuing 0bseivations of the Committee on Economic, Social anu
Cultuial Rights, Isiael, 0.N. Boc. E¡C.12¡1¡Auu.27 (Bec. 4, 1998), at
http:¡¡www.unhci.oig¡iefwoilu¡uociu¡Sf6cb4S67.html.

Comm. on Economic, Social anu Cultuial Rights, Concluuing 0bseivations of the Committee on Economic, Social anu
Cultuial Rights, Nepal, 0.N. Boc. E¡C.12¡NPL¡C0¡2 (Ian. 16, 2uu8), at
http:¡¡www.unhci.oig¡iefwoilu¡uociu¡4798Sc2u2.html.

Comm. on Economic, Social anu Cultuial Rights, Concluuing 0bseivations of the Committee on Economic, Social anu
Cultuial Rights, Philippines, 0.N. Boc. E¡C.12¡PBL¡C0¡4 (Bec. 1, 2uu8), at
http:¡¡www.unhci.oig¡iefwoilu¡uociu¡49Sf9488u.html.


!>1'-0%030%1'-*

Bangladesh Shongbidhan [Constitution} Nov. 4, 1972 (Bangl.).

C.A. Const. ait. X, § 2.

Constitución Nacional Aug. 22, 1994 (Aig.).

Constitución de la Provincia de Córdoba Api. 26, 1987 (Coiuoba, Aig.).

Constitución Political de Colombia Iuly S, 1991.

Constitution Coordonné Feb. 17, 1994 (Belg.).

Constitution de la République Démocratique du Congo Feb. 18, 2uu6. *

Constitution of India, Ian. 26, 19Su.

Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Aug. 14, 197S.

Constitution of the Kingdom of Cambodia Sep. 21, 199S.

Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, Act 108 of 1996 Feb. 4, 1997.

Grundgesetz für die Bundesrepublik Deutschland [Constitution] 2S Nay 1949 (uei.).*

Saligang Batas ng Pilipinas [Constitution] Feb 11, 1987 (Phil).*

Undang-Undang Dasar Republik Indonesia 1945 (Constitution) Iuly S, 19S9.


!V#'#"($ >1&&#'0-*Z>X=>+\>>!+[*

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S7th Sess., Supp. No. 4u, A¡S7¡4u (Iuly Su, 1982), reprinteJ in Compilation of ueneial Comments anu ueneial
Recommenuations Auopteu by Buman Rights Tieaty Bouies, 0.N. Boc. BRI¡uEN¡1¡Rev.1, at 6 (Iuly 27, 1994).

Comm. on Civil anu Political Rights, ueneial Comment No. 18: Non-Bisciimination, S7th Sess., 0ct. 2S - Nov. 1u, 1989, 0.N.
uA0R, 4Sth Sess., Supp. No. 4u, A¡4S¡4u, at 17S (Nov. 9, 1989), ovoiloble ot http:¡¡uocuments-uus-
ny.un.oig¡uoc¡0NB0C¡uEN¡N9u¡2Su¡S1¡img¡N9u2SuS1.puf.0penElement.

11S
Comm. on Economic, Social anu Cultuial Rights, ueneial Comment S: The Natuie of States Paities' 0bligations, 0.N. Boc.
BRI¡uEN¡1¡Rev.6 at 14 (Bec. 14, 199u), at
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Comm. on Economic, Social anu Cultuial Rights, ueneial Comment No. 9: The Bomestic Application of the Covenant, 0.N.
Boc. E¡C.12¡1998¡24 (Bec. S, 1998), at http:¡¡uocuments-uus-
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E¡C.12¡1999¡11 (Nay 12, 1999), ovoiloble ot
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Stanuaiu of Beath, 0.N. Boc. E¡C.12¡2uuu¡4 (Aug. 11, 2uuu), at
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Comm. on Economic, Social anu Cultuial Rights, ueneial Comment No. 2u: Non-Bisciimination in Economic, Social anu
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Comm. on Economic, Social anu Cultuial Rights, Intiouuction: The Puipose of ueneial Comments, Su Sess., Feb. 6-24,
1989, 0.N. ESC0R, 1989, Supp. No. 4, E¡1989¡22-E¡C.12¡1989¡S, at 87 (Feb. 24, 1989), ovoiloble ot http:¡¡uocuments-
uus-ny.un.oig¡uoc¡0NB0C¡uEN¡u89¡178¡19¡puf¡u8917819.puf.0penElement.
*
*
!.'0#"OV1M#"'&#'0($*K"8('%](0%1'*+#-1$30%1'-**
*
E.S.C. Res. 199u¡4S, 0.N. Boc. E¡199u¡7u¡Auu.1 (Nay S, 199u).

Buman Rights Commission Res. 2uuS¡1S, Auveise Effects of the Illicit Noving anu Bumping of Toxic anu Bangeious
Piouucts anu Wastes on the Enjoyment of Buman Rights, 61st Sess., Nai. 14 - Api. 22, 2uuS, 0.N. ESC0R, 2uuS, Supp. No.
S, E¡2uuS¡2S, at S6 (Api. 14, 2uuS).

Buman Rights Council, Buman Rights anu Access to Safe Biinking Watei anu Sanitation, 0.N. Boc. A¡BRC¡1S¡L.14 (Sep.
24, 2u1u), at http:¡¡uaccess-ous.un.oig¡TNP¡9S64Su.1711S2u88.html.

Buman Rights Council Res. 7¡22, Buman Rights anu Access to Safe Biinking Watei anu Sanitation, 7
th
Sess., Nai. S-28,
2uu8, 0.N. uA0R, 6Su Sess., Supp. No. SS, A¡6S¡SS, at 1S4 (Nai. 28, 2uu8).

The Buman Right to Watei anu Sanitation, u.A. Res. 64¡292, 0.N. Boc. A¡RES¡64¡292 (Iuly 28, 2u1u). *

The Nillennium Beclaiation, u.A. Res. SS¡2, 0.N. Boc. A¡RES¡SS¡2 (Sep. 8, 2uuu).*

The Right to Bevelopment, u.A. Res. S4¡17S, 0.N. Boc. A¡RES¡S4¡17S (Bec. 17, 1999).

0. N. Rules foi the Piotection of Iuveniles Bepiiveu of theii Libeity, u.A. Res. 4S¡11S, 0.N. Boc. A¡RES¡4S¡11S (Bec. 14,
199u). *
*
0. N. Sub-Comm'n on the Piomotion anu Piotection of Buman Rights Res. 2uu6¡1u, Piomotion of the Realization of the
Right to Biinking Watei anu Sanitation, S8th Sess., Aug. 7-2S, 2uu6, 0.N. Boc. A¡BRC¡2¡2-A¡BRC¡Sub.1¡S8¡S6, at S9
(Aug. 24, 2uu6). *
*
0niveisal Beclaiation of Buman Rights, u.A. Res. 217 (III) A, 0.N. Boc. A¡RES¡217(III) (Bec. 1u, 1948).


116
!.'0#"'(0%1'($ >1M#'('0- ('2 5"#(0%#-*

Convention on the Elimination of All Foims of Bisciimination against Women, Bec. 18, 1979, 1249 0.N.T.S. 1S.

Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational 0ses of Inteinational Wateicouises, u. A. ies. S1¡229, Annex, 0.N. uA0R,
S1st Sess., 99th mtg., 0N Boc. A¡RES¡S1¡229 (openeJ for siqnoture Nay 21, 1997), S6 I.L.N. 7uu.

Convention on the Rights of the Chilu, Nov. 2u, 1989, 1S77 0.N.T.S. S.

ueneva Convention Relative to the Piotection of Civilian Peisons in Time of Wai, Aug. 12, 1949, 6 0.S.T. SS16, 7S 0.N.T.S.
287.

ueneva Convention Relative to the Tieatment of Piisoneis of Wai, Aug. 12, 1949, 6 0.S.T. SS16, 7S 0.N.T.S. 1SS.

Inteinational Convention on the Piotection anu Piomotion of the Rights anu Bignity of Peisons with Bisabilities, u.A. Res.
61¡1u6, Annex I, 0.N. uA0R, 61st Sess., Supp. No. 49, at 6S, 0.N. Boc. A¡61¡49 (Bec. 1S, 2uu6), 46 I.L.N. 44S.

Inteinational Covenant on Civil anu Political Rights, Bec. 16, 1966, 999 0.N.T.S. 171.

Inteinational Covenant on Economic, Social anu Cultuial Rights, Bec. 16, 1966, 99S 0.N.T.S. S.

0iganization of Afiican 0nity, Afiican Chaitei on the Rights anu Welfaie of the Chilu, Iuly 11, 199u, 0A0 Boc.
CAB¡LEu¡24.9¡49.

Piotocol Auuitional to the ueneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, anu Relating to the Piotection of victims of
Inteinational Aimeu Conflicts (Piotocol I), Iune 8, 1977, 112S 0.N.T.S. S.

Statute of the Inteinational Couit of Iustice, S9 Stat. 1uS1.

0.N. Chaitei.

vienna Convention on the Law of Tieaties, Nay 2S, 1969, 11SS 0.N.T.S. SS1.


!.'0#"'(0%1'($ E#4$("(0%1'-*

Xv Summit of Beaus of State anu uoveinment of the Non-Aligneu Novement, Shaim el Sheik, Egypt, Iuly 11-16, 2uu9,
Iinol Bocument, NAN2uu9¡FB¡Boc.1, ovoiloble ot
http:¡¡www.namegypt.oig¡en¡RelevantBocuments¡Pages¡uefault.aspx (via "final uocument" hypeilink).

Bonn Confeience on Fieshwatei, Bonn, uei., Bec. S-7, 2uu1, RecommenJotions for Action.

Fiist Afiica-South Ameiica Summit, Abuja, Nigeiia, Nov. 26-Su, 2uu6, Abuio Beclorotion, ovoiloble ot
http:¡¡www.eaclj.oig¡inuex.php.option=com_phocauownloau&view=categoiy&iu=1&Itemiu=21#.

Fiist Asia-Pacific Watei Summit, Beppu, Iapan,Bec. S-4, 2uu7, Hessoqe from Beppu, ovoiloble ot
http:¡¡www.apwf.oig¡aichive¡uocuments¡summit¡Nessage_fiom_Beppu_u8u1Su.puf

Fiist 0niteu Nations Congiess on the Pievention of Ciime anu the Tieatment of 0ffenueis, Aug. 22 - Sep. S, 19SS,
StonJorJ Hinimum Rules for tbe Treotment of Prisoners, 0.N. Boc. A¡C0NF¡611, Annex I, ovoiloble ot
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Inteinational Confeience on Watei anu the Enviionment, Bublin, Ii., Ian. 26-S1, 1992, Tbe Bublin Stotement on Woter onJ
Sustoinoble Bevelopment."

Thiiu South Asian Confeience on Sanitation, New Belhi, Inuia, Nov. 16-21, 2uu8, Tbe Belbi Beclorotion, ovoiloble ot
http:¡¡uuws.nic.in¡infosacosan¡ppt¡Belhi%2uBeclaiation%2u7.puf.

117
0niteu Nations Confeience on Buman Settlement, vancouvei, Can. Nay S1 - Iune 11, 1976, voncouver Beclorotion on
Eumon Settlements, 0N. Boc. A¡C0NF.7u¡1S, ovoiloble ot http:¡¡www.un-uocuments.net¡van-uec.htm.

0niteu Nations Inteinational Confeience on Population anu Bevelopment, Caiio, Egypt, Sep. S-1S, 1994, Proqromme of
Action of tbe lnternotionol Conference on Populotion onJ Bevelopment, 0.N. Boc. A¡C0NF.171¡1S (Sep. 18, 1994). ovoiloble
ot http:¡¡www.iisu.ca¡Caiio¡piogiam¡puuuuu.html.


!J13"'($*L"0%4$#-*

Amanua Cahill, Tbe Eumon Riqbt to Woter - A Riqbt of 0nique Stotus: Tbe leqol Stotus onJ Normotive Content of tbe Riqbt
to Woter. 9(S) Int’l J. Hum. Rts. S89 (2uuS).

Anthony Scott & ueoigina Coustalin, Tbe Fvolution of Woter Riqbts. SS(4) Nat. Res. J. 821 (199S).

Antonio E. Iiujo, Tbe Riqbt to Woter. 2S(2) Int’l J. Water Res. Dev 267 (2uu7).*

Aijun K. Khauka, Tbe Fmerqence of Woter os o ´Eumon Riqbt´ on tbe WorlJ Stoqe: Cbollenqes onJ 0pportunities. 26(1) Int’l
J. Water Res. Dev. S7 (2u1u).

Asit K. Biswas, Woter os o Eumon Riqbt in tbe HFNA Reqion: Cbollenqes onJ 0pportunities. 2S(2) Int’l J. Water Res. Dev
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Auuiey R. Chapman, A "violotions Approocb" for Honitorinq tbe lnternotionol Covenont on Fconomic. Sociol onJ Culturol
Riqbts. 18 Hum. Rts. Q. 2S (1996).

B.C.A. Toebes, ToworJs on lmproveJ 0nJerstonJinq of tbe lnternotionol Eumon Riqbt to Eeoltb, 21 Human Rights
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Ciaig Scott & Philipp Alston, AJiuJicotinq Constitutionol Priorities in o Tronsnotionol Context. o Comment on
Soobromonev´s leqocv onJ 6rootbloom´s Promise. 16 S. Afr. J. Hum. Rts. 2u6 (2uuu).

Baviu Bilchitz, 6ivinq Socio-Fconomic Riqbts Teetb: Tbe Hinimum Core onJ lts lmportonce. 119 S. Afr. L.J. 484 (2uu2).

Baviu B. Biooks, Eumon Riqbts to Woter in Nortb Africo onJ tbe HiJJle Fost: Wbot is New onJ Wbot is Not; Wbot is
lmportont onJ Wbot is Not. 2S(2) Int’l J. Water Res. Dev 227 (2uu7).

Eiik B. Bluemel, Tbe lmplicotions of Iormulotinq o Eumon Riqbt to Woter. S1 Ecology L.Q. 9S7 (2uu4).

Ian Scobbie Principle or Proqmotics? Tbe Relotionsbip between Eumon Riqbts low onJ tbe low of ArmeJ Conflict. 14(S) J.
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!:#8%-$(0%1'*('2*!1$%4)

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121

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!?'I3H$%-6#2*('2*K06#"*=13"4#-*

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