Water justice encompasses a much broader area than the realization of the human rights to water and sanitation. Yet, as human rights are universal, they stand at the basis of achieving global water justice. Water as a natural resource is unevenly devided on our planet. And it is a precious resource, the basis of life itself. Water Justice refers to the usage of water: as it is essential for life, it must be safeguarded and protected for all, present and future generations and it must be used fairly and wisely. Overexploitation of water (or water resources) by ‘one’ that causes shortage or suffering for ‘another’ is an injustice that cannot be justified. Pollution of water by ‘one’ that causes sickness or suffering to ‘another’ or destruction of ecosystems and livelihoods cannot be accepted either. To achieve a fair, sustainable and just use by all, a good governance of water and environment is necessary.
Good governance includes participation (of all stakeholders) transparency (by all stakeholders) and accountabillity (of all stakeholders). A legal framework usually offers the basis, but in case such a legal framework is non-existent or does not address “justice” matters, guidelines and best practices should be used to ensure water justice. In some places the legal framework only consolidates inequalities and strengthens the power of dominant groups in society. In such situations struggles for water occur to redistribute the “use of” and “rights to” water/sanitation/environment/natural resources. Justice requires support for deprived or least priviledged and often least powerful groups in society. Water justice struggles are not only about a fair distribution and use of water, but also about achieving a fair and socially and environmentally sustainable society.
EuSAIN participates in the Allianza Justicia Hidrica.