What is water justice?

Water justice is a fluid concept, with numerous disciplinary interpretations and frameworks. Neal et al. Propose 10 steps to water justice. Colonisation impacts on Indigenous peoples’ water rights in northern America, Australia, and other places with ongoing colonial history. This can lead to inequitable distribution of water and an unfair playing field when water decisions are made.  Governance plays a role in how water justice issues are understood and acted upon. Ultimately, the human right to water is critical to human survival, both for individuals, but also at the collective level.  The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples’ recognise all peoples (plural) are equal.

Become a water warrior*

Everyone, be they community leaders, decision-makers, researchers, students, farmers, advocates or consumers has the power to promote water justice.

Water knowledge and learning

Open access information about water is available from Global Water Forum’s learning hub.  This includes calculatorsdata and tools, free ebooks, a glossary, open Access journals and blogs, and  other education resources such as databases, lectures, courseware, and other resources.

Read the UN-Water’s Water Facts resource. The Water Rights Syllabus contains week by week discussion topics and readings.

Increasing understanding of your local water catchment is another great step. Or you can measure your water footprint

You can learn more about water justice issues through the Hub’s Water Stories [LINK], or promote understanding in others by share your own story!

Water research

 A collaborative, interdisciplinary approach enriches water justice investigation.  The Water Justice Hub brings researchers and community together to tackle the big problems of water justice.

Water ethics

We talk about water justice- but water about justice for water? Consider your own ethic towards water, perhaps adopt the water ethics charter, and take actions that reduce your impact on water.

Water actions

Water justice requires collective action and advocacy to promote human rights. Addressing local issues often requires immediate action combined with long term advocacy for systemic change at the institutional level.

You can become a signatory to the Geneva actions on water security:

  • Action One: Secure the Delivery of Basic Water Needs for People
  • Action Two: Secure Improvements in the Condition of Watersheds, Streams, Rivers and Aquifers
  • Action Three: Secure Better Water Planning, Management and Governance

Water justice

Water is essential to life. It is non-substitutional. Issues of water justice are intrinsically linked to power, inclusion and equity.  All voices need to be heard, not just the loudest. Water warriors can promote water justice by amplifying voices (e.g. social media), supporting independent journalism, and equitable decision making.

*Adapted from Dr. Farhana Sultana‘ s article,  Water justice: why it matters and how to achieve it