A conceptual framework for a human rights-based approach to water

Authors Oluwabunmi Niyi-Gafar

ISSN: 2521-2605
Affiliations: Faculty of Law, University of Ilorin, Nigeria
Source: Journal of Comparative Law in Africa, Volume 6 Issue 1, p. 149 – 174


Since the recognition of access to safe drinking water as a human right, nations have been charged with the responsibility of progressively realising access to water for their citizenry. Various approaches have been suggested, one of which includes a human rights-based approach. A human rights-based approach to water does not have a specific definition, however, it encompasses the principles that are necessary to aid a progressive realisation of access to water amongst the people, especially the poor. This approach to access to water takes into cognisance, the availability of water, the affordability of water and a constant quantity which must be of good quality. Beyond describing what a ‘human rights-based approach to water’ entails this article expounds South Africa’s application of this approach to ensuring access to water for its citizens. It further suggests areas where this approach may prove useful where considered and applied in other African countries, especially Nigeria, to ensure a progressive realisation of access to water.