Journal Title

Texas International Law Journal





First Page


Document Type


Publication Information



The importance of water is difficult to quantify, but because it is necessary for survival, it deserves recognition as a human right. Although the right to water has received considerable attention, it has not yet achieved the status of customary international law.

If the human right to water becomes an accepted norm of international law, there could be differing consequences for governments. A human right is enforceable by a citizen against her government by investigating intragovernmental responsibilities in different contexts, including times of peace and more complicated relationships, such as those created in times of conflict or belligerent occupation. Different enforcement mechanisms to ensure obligations are met should be put in place.

If the right to water becomes a human right, governments may be obligated to provide water beyond their borders. A state unable to meet its needs could demand assistance from a neighbor state, especially in situations involving economic inequities or shared water resources. During conflict, governments would be prohibited from damaging water resources. After conflict, the belligerent would be required to protect and fulfill the water needs of the occupied state. Enforcement of these obligations could be achieved at the national or international level, or by horizontal enforcement.

Recommended Citation

Amy Hardberger, Whose Job Is It Anyway?: Governmental Obligations Created by the Human Right to Water, 41 Tex. Int’l L.J. 533 (2006).

Included in

Water Law Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.