The Right to Clean Water

The right to clean water

Your rights under the UNCRC

UNCRC, Article 24: It’s your right to have the best health care possible, safe water to drink, nutritious food, a clean and safe environment, and information to help you stay well.  

Your rights under Irish law

 –  There is no specific mention of the right to water in Irish law.

Did you know?

  • In 2010, the United Nations declared that access to clean water and sanitation is a human right.
  • Of all the available water on earth, less than 1% can be drunk by human beings, animals and plants.
  • In 2016, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended that Ireland needs to make sure that sites where Traveller and Roma communities live have adequate water and sanitation facilities, like toilets and showers.
  • The UN suggests that each person needs 20-50 litres of water a day for  their basic needs for drinking, cooking and cleaning.
  • According to the UN, by 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with little access to water. Two thirds of the world’s population could be living in areas that don’t have enough water.
  • Goal 6 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals focuses on ‘Clean Water and Sanitation’. One aim under Goal 6 is to make sure everyone has  access to safe and affordable drinking water by 2030.
  • According to Thirst, if you shower for 3 minutes less, you could save up to 60 litres of water.You can check the quality of your water at home in Ireland by entering your address into the website.

Hear your right – read by Caoimhe Ní Scolaí

As Gaelige

Tá sé de cheart agat na nithe seo a fháil: an cúram sláinte is fearr agus is féidir, uisce óil sábháilte, bia cothaitheach, timpeallacht ghlan agus shábháilte, agus eolas chun cuidiú leat fanacht slán.

Éist le do chearta – léite ag Luke Ó Murchú

What children and young people are saying

  • We live in a world where there’s so much food or you can go to a supermarket and buy whatever and then you see other countries where there’s people starving. It’s just so unnecessary where they have no clean water whereas we have loads of clean water, like, there’s never a question whether we have clean water or not. So that’s would be irritating or annoying for me. – Carla (17)

    The right to clean water is very important. Water is essential for survival.

    You need clean water so you don’t get sick, if you drink dirty water you can get sick and there might be no medicine if you’re in a poor country – Christian (12)

Find Out More

  • Green Schools – Water is one of the key themes in the Green Schools programme.
  • Eco-Unesco – ECO UNESCO works with young people to create a better understanding of the environment. Find out more about how you can get involved.
  • Wateraid – Learn more about why having clean water is so important from the stories of people that WaterAid has worked with.
  • UN Water for Life Decade 2005-2015 – Learn about how the UN has promoted efforts to fulfill international obligations for clean water

Explore More: Resources for Teachers and Educators

  • Green-Schools Ireland – ‘Water’. This theme under the Green-Schools programme aims to support schools in introducing and implementing a sustainable water programme and to raise awareness of related issues among students.
  • World’s Largest Lesson – A range of resources to support children and young people of different ages to learn about and take action relating to the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals, which include a goal relating to water and sanitation (Goal 6).
  • UNICEF UK – ‘Water, Work and Leisure.’ A role-play based on a real-life event in Zambia, which supports children and young people (11-16 years) to explore how water shortages can impact on children’s rights to healthcare and education. In Thinking Rights. What happens when rights seem to conflict? (2009), pp.57-60.
  • A Child’s Right – ‘Every child has a right to clean water’. A film (06:53 mins), which might be used to introduce children and young people to children’s right to clean water (2008).
  • Water Aid – ‘Stories from our work’. A series of stories, including short videos, highlighting challenges faced by people in different countries as regards access to clean water.