A Survey of Efforts to Achieve Universal Access to Water and Sanitation in California

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A Survey of Efforts to Achieve Universal Access to Water and Sanitation in California

A Survey of Efforts to Achieve Universal Access to Water and Sanitation in California

California-based Pacific Institute has issued a report: A Survey of Efforts to Achieve Universal Access to Water and Sanitation in California. The report is expected to be of interest to those who are working on human rights to water and sanitation.

In 2010, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 64/292, which declared that “the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation [is] a human right that is essential for the full enjoyment of life and all human rights.”

Two years later, the California Legislature added section 106.3 to the California Water Code (Section 106.3), which declared that “every human being has the right to safe, clean, affordable, and accessible water adequate for human consumption, cooking, and sanitary purposes.” The statute has served as the touchstone for California drinking water and sanitation efforts.


Quite often, water gets high priority, sometimes at the cost of ignoring sanitation. To offset this notion, the publication says:

Since 2012, California government agencies and non-governmental stakeholders have focused most of their efforts on drinking water. These efforts, while commendable, have been incomplete. First, the need for drinking water access and quality continues to outstrip capacity and resources. Second, while sanitation requires an adequate supply of water, it also requires an array of public and private infrastructure and services for the hygienic disposal of human waste, including household-level infrastructure like a toilet or septic tank.

The paper focuses on needs, efforts, and recommendations to advance the right to water for drinking and sanitary purposes. Three-fold approaches are proposed.

First, the legislative efforts that set the foundation for the adoption of human right to water in California are highlighted.

Second, the challenges facing residents of disadvantaged unincorporated communities, particularly in light of California’s recent drought, to illustrate the drinking water and sanitation needs of these communities, are discussed.

Third, efforts by non-governmental stakeholders to advance the human right to water, focusing on the need to invest in programs and funds to address the right to water for sanitary purposes is reviewed.

The publication is available at:
www.aclunc.org/sites/default/files/SurveyReport.pdf

F H Mughal

F H Mughal (Mr.)
Karachi, Pakistan
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