Fighting to make water a human right

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The United Nations' World Water Day is right around the corner. To raise awareness about water security, the UN in 2010 declared water to be human right, which is a powerful challenge to practices that have long treated water as a commodity to be privatized.

Because water is fundamental for all life, the UN's framing of the issue as a human right may be influential. But framing alone is not enough to make clean, affordable fresh water a reality for everyone. Establishing and implementing water policies depends on the actions of a complex interplay of agencies with authority over water, from state governments to regional water quality boards to municipal utility districts. What's more, the world's major soda corporations have turned these bureaucratic hurdles into a business opportunity by aggressively targeting communities that lack clean water with ads for sugary beverages.

Thankfully, groups like the California Food Policy Advocates have been working hard to navigate such challenges in order to increase access to fresh water in California and all U.S. schools. Due to their and other's efforts, there is now state and federal legislation mandating that all school children have access to clean fresh water during lunch. The fact that such a law was even necessary shows how fundamental the fight for water is.

CFPA is far from alone in this fight, however. Here are some groups to check out as we continue to fight for everyone's right to clean water.

  • In California's Central Valley, the Community Water Center is leading the fight to address the unacceptable inequities in fresh water facing the very farm worker communities who grow America's food.
  • Food & Water Watch maintains a wide set of resources to learn more about water politics.
  • Tappening.com is an online guide to myths about bottled water, and resources to make the case for tap water.

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