Human Rights to Water and Sanitation

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Since the recognition, in 2010, of access to safe drinking water and sanitation as Human Rights by the Member States of the United Nations, important progress has been made in terms of policy formulation, legislation and regulation. In an increasing number of countries, these rights are being enshrined in national Constitutions. Yet, within these legal and regulatory frameworks, a range of actors have to play a role in ensuring the universal enjoyment by all rights-holders of access to safe, affordable, acceptable, and reliable water and sanitation services. What are these concrete actions and who should undertake them?

To provide guidance on the roles and responsibilities for everyone who contributes to the progressive realization of the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation (HRWS), and on how the human rights principles and actions can be incorporated into their essential functions, the International Water Association has developed the Manual of the Human Rights to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation for Practitioners.

The Manual introduces a human rights perspective that will add value to informed decision making in the daily routine of operators of public utilities, managers of private sector companies, coordinators of public-private partnerships and NGO leaders providing water supply and sanitation services, and the independent regulators of such services. It also encourages its readership to engage actively in national dialogues where the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation are translated into national and local policies, laws and regulations.

The Manual is structured into an introductory part (chapters 1 and 3) and an operational part (chapters 4, 5, 6 and 7). Chapter 2 presents a summary of the key recommended actions for the various main actors. You can download the full manual or browse through specific chapters.

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