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Human Right to Water: Contemporary Challenges and Contours of a Global Debate

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Abstract:  In recent years, significant debate has taken place around the concept of the “human right to water”. In this paper, we seek to respond to recent critiques and clarify the terms of the debate by presenting an in‐depth exploration of the human right to water. We explore several critiques of the concept, situate it in the context of the current neoliberalization of water provision and in relation to contemporary water challenges, and present some examples of how it has been deployed to further the cause of access to water for vulnerable populations in varied contexts. We conclude that, rather than abandoning the concept as critics have suggested, the human right to water maintains importance as a discourse and strategy in the contemporary moment.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Sociology Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, USA; 2: Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability and Center for Women's and Gender Studies, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada;

Publication date: June 1, 2012


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