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A Human Right to Groundwater?

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Within a few months in 2010, both the UN General Assembly and the Human Rights Council affirmed a human right to safe drinking water. The present paper purports to identify the impact, if any, of these declarations of an existing or emerging right to water and its repercussions on the proper management of transboundary aquifers, which the ILC sought to regulate in its 2008 Draft Articles. Reviewing existing binding and non-binding instruments and related State practice, I argue that there exists today a mature right to clean water. Although the law of transboundary aquifers is in a nascent form, there is no reason not to import the polished quality requirements of the right to water in order to further identify and fulfil the basic human needs it has set out to address. The achievements of the human rights field may and must be transferred into the emerging water law.

Affiliations: 1: University of Athens Greece

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