Opposing States’ discretion in water policy

Although a consistent legislation on the right to water exists at the international level, and a crucial advancement has been reached when the universal human right to water was formally acknowledged by the international community, water policy is still largely left in the hands of national States and no binding norms define their duties. Even supra-national institutions such as the EU leave their member States largely free to adopt water laws and water policy according to their own interpretation of water issues and the right to water. As a result, we see that the human right to water is not implemented not even in those States having introduced the human right to water into their Constitutions.


The Protocol is formulated as an international Treaty explicitly overcoming the political weakness of principles declarations, by defining binding norms for the implementation of the human right to water, by fixing a minimum of water indispensable to life to be guaranteed free of charge, and by imposing the same norms to each State, thus respecting the universal character of the human right. The Protocol also establishes that States can be sued for violations of the human right before international Human Rights Courts, and are forced to set up plans of reparations. States are also obliged to regularly report to the Committee for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, providing comprehensive information on the measures they have taken in order to implement the Protocol provisions.