The right to water is a fundamental human right because water is essential for human life. No one can survive without access to clean, safe drinking water. Yet millions of children around the world die every day from polluted water and diseases spread by dirty water. Control over water is often related to questions of power that is easily abused particularly in conflicts between different peoples.

Problems of water are often portrayed as stemming only from natural phenomena such as drought, climate change, or the scarcity of water. But most water shortages and water contamination stem from concrete human actions or policies. Rather than focusing only on water shortages, we need to look at the distribution of existing water supplies and who controls them. Rather than blaming contamination of water on poverty, we also need to look at who is polluting water supplies and why regulatory frameworks are not preventing pollution. Recognizing a human right to water is an important step toward holding decision-makers accountable and recognizing the social and political dimensions of water use and management. Fighting for the right to water promotes access to safe water for all.