The emergence of standards regarding the right of access to water and sanitation

Thumbnail Image
McIntyre, Owen
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Cambridge University Press
Research Projects
Organizational Units
Journal Issue
Despite continuing uncertainty over the precise legal status of the putative human right(s) of access to water and sanitation in international law, and also within the domestic legal frameworks of many national jurisdictions, the elaboration continues apace of a rich montage of water services standards by a diverse cast of formal and informal global, regional, State and transnational actors. In addition to emerging standards regarding the physical safety and adequacy of water supplied for domestic purposes, notably including the WHO Guidelines for Drinking-Water Quality, standards are also being adopted by bodies such as the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), which set down more general service quality guidelines for utilities providing domestic water and sanitation services. Also, certain institutions providing finance for major water services projects, such as multilateral development banks (MDBs), are developing sophisticated standards for cost recovery which seek to adopt elements of a human rights-based approach by taking account of the affordability of water and sanitation services and providing safeguards for poor and vulnerable people, including restrictions on service disconnection for non-payment of charges. At every level of decision-making regarding water and sanitation services, standards of governance informed by the practice of human rights, including standards concerned with transparency, participation, reviewability and accountability, have become pervasive.
Access to water , Sanitation , International law
McIntyre, O. (2019) 'The emergence of standards regarding the right of access to water and sanitation', in Turner, S. J., Shelton, D. L., Razzaque, J., McIntyre, O., May, J. R. (eds.) Environmental Rights: The Development of Standards. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, pp. 147-173. doi: 10.1017/9781108612500.007
Link to publisher’s version
© 2019, Cambridge University Press. This material is free to view and download for personal use only. Not for re-distribution, re-sale or use in derivative works.