The Right to Clean Water


Submitted by Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She lives in U.S.

March 22 is World Water Day

Water is wealth. Without water life would not endure. Access to water and sanitation is a precondition to life and a declared human right.

“For many of us, clean water is so plentiful and readily available that we rarely, if ever, pause to consider what life would be like without it.”—Marcus Samuelsson

The right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right that is essential for the full enjoyment of life is a declaration by the United Nations General Assembly adopted in 2013.

World Water Day, held on 22 March every year since 1993, focuses on the importance of freshwater. World Water Day celebrates water and raises awareness of the 2.2 billion people living without access to safe water. It is about taking action to tackle the global water crisis. A core focus of World Water Day is to support the achievement of water and sanitation for all by 2030. Will those who are working for the good of humanity be able to achieve the goal of fresh water for all on planet earth?

In order to accelerate initiatives aimed at addressing the challenges related to water resources, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 2018-2028 as the International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development.”

“At a most basic level, human beings cannot survive without water. Equally important is sanitation, a lack of which negatively affects our quality of life and claims the lives of millions each year,” declared Miroslav Lajčák, President of the General Assembly of the United Nations. Lajčák continued, “While cooperation at the international level remains important, governments bear the primary responsibility to meet water and sanitation needs of their populations. Water and sanitation need to be mainstreamed into national development planning and budgeting processes, and must include sustainable use and efficiency, address wastewater, promote education and raise awareness.”

“Freshwater is the most important resource for mankind, cross-cutting all social, economic and environmental activities. It is a condition for all life on our planet, an enabling or limiting factor for any social and technological development, a possible source of welfare or misery, cooperation or conflict.”

The World Water Council (WWC) considers the formulation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be an endeavor of the highest importance for the achievement of water security throughout the world, which is crucial for a prosperous and equitable future for humankind.

Help inspire action to achieve the 2030 Agenda by joining thousands of other people on World Water Day (22nd March) and World Toilet Day (19th November) to raise awareness of the water and sanitation crises and exert public pressure for change.

“We have the ability to provide clean water for every man, woman and child on the Earth. What has been lacking is the collective will to accomplish this. What are we waiting for? This is the commitment we need to make to the world, now.”—Jean-Michel Cousteau

17 thoughts on “The Right to Clean Water

  1. In places like Africa and the Indian sub-continent, the shortage of water is an every day fact of life. Of course there are desert dwelling folks also who have to contend with the lack of water. It was refreshing to hear the Minister responsible for water in Barbados allude to the idea of reducing the number of stand-pipes in the country. The proposal has it origin in the fact that Barbadians waste water from stand pipes.

    • @Dr. Lucas

      It seems we need a holistic approach Water Management in Barbados?

      – Leaks – wastage at the tap – poor management – etc

      In your opinion what are quick wins we should go for?

  2. As long as in Barbados the golf courses and the gardens of the villas are beautifully green, I don’t see any problems. If you want to consume a lot, you either have to pay a lot, create a pond or have a large water tank built.

    Water shortage is therefore primarily a poverty problem.

  3. Drought has many causes. It can be caused by not receiving rain or snow over a period of time. … If you live in a place where most of the water you use comes from a river, a drought in your area can be caused by places upstream from you not receiving enough moisture

  4. @ David March 5, 2020 12:25 PM

    As I have stated already on this Blog, there are adequate supplies of water in the Sedge-pond area of St. Andrew. The escarpment where the limestone crust meets the alluvial oceanic deposits result in springs. This geological feature results in year-round daily run-off of water ,that is channeled by Gabion weirs into Long-pond St. Andrew and then into the Atlantic ocean. Owen Arthur once increased the water rates: the increase was supposed to fix the leaks. The money was spent on other things. Barbados is a typical ,backward third-world country.

  5. You have to be a specially brutal and savage government to shut down public stand pipes in a poverty-stricken country like Barbados. @Robert, you will remember when there used to be fountains and public toilets in Bridgetown, now this over-ambitious nation allows people to use the side streets of Bridgetown as urinals – and thy smell like it. Call this progress?

  6. Hal,

    Bridgetown’s on the downhill slide. No progress in 30 years. In former times there were many tourists in the shops during the main season. Today only the impoverished native masses, broken figures, who systematically beg everybody looking like a foreigner, because the tourists already purchase jewelry on their cruise ships. The native masses don’t even notice the poverty anymore, because after 12 years of economic decline they are not used to anything else for a long time.

    It would be best to level the entire city centre around the Parliament and create a large park instead. Of course, we need a high entrance fee for this park to keep the riffraff out so that they do not litter and pollute the park. In particular, we need to relocate the large bus station and markets, as they are a magnet for criminals.

  7. @ Tron,

    Sometimes you say many truths, intended or not. I wonder how many hotel owners celebrate the Carnival cruise liners as the president seems to do? Cruise liners are rivals to long-stay tourism.

  8. @Tron March 5, 2020 1:47 PM “As long as in Barbados the golf courses and the gardens of the villas are beautifully green, I don’t see any problems. If you want to consume a lot, you either have to pay a lot, create a pond or have a large water tank built.”

    So the water for the golf courses, swimming pools, villa gardens, ponds and tanks come from where again?

    Oh shoot, I forgot. The rich people manufacture their own water, using no local ingredients.

  9. Just wait till I start charging wunna rich west coasters for the water which you have been extracting from under my many acres land in zone 1.

    People buy oil at whatever price, but even rich people behave like damnmendicunts wanting free water all of the time.

  10. @Hal Austin March 5, 2020 3:36 PM “now this over-ambitious nation allows people to use the side streets of Bridgetown as urinals – and thy smell like it. Call this progress?”

    Only MEN use the side streets as urinals. Earlier this week you asked if somebody else was house broken. I ask now whether wunna men are toilet trained?

    Bigable men pissing all ’bout de people place. By the time a human being is 3 or 4 they should have learned to go before leaving home, school, office, church,friend’s home etc.

    No need for anybody above the age of 3 to be pissing in public.

  11. @Tron March 5, 2020 6:22 PM “to keep the riffraff out.”

    And the rich folk will do the work required to keep this park clean and beautiful right?

    Or does Lord and Lady Nasty expect others to clean up after them?

  12. @Silly Woman March 5, 2020 7:15 PM

    I pray to the Old Gods during the dry season: Yemọja, Goddess of water, and her sister, Goddess Bim, give us the gift of water.

  13. The stand pipes I see in the island are in places like the Bayland and Carrington Village. Both places where people still depend on public water.

  14. seven years ago, I wrote and managed a blog for a non-profit organization ( Many of the articles were about the terrible lack of clean water many people in this world. suffer. At the time, the statistic was 1 in 8 people in the world lacked clean drinking water and running bathroom water in their homes. I’ve lost touch with this problem. Thank you for reminding me. One of the most effective organizations I supported is Water First International. They do an outstanding job. It’s not a big organization. They put every penny of their donations to good use.

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