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Progressive water policy needs to be intrinsically linked to human rights and sustainability

King’s Water Centre has launched four policy papers that explore how we can ensure we have a just and sustainable water future.

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In 2020, 2 billion people (26% of the global population) did not have access to safely managed drinking water and 3.6 billion (46%) lacked safely managed sanitation.

The policy papers look at how water policy should be tied to human rights to ensure everyone has access to clean water, sanitation and adequate food.

They also explore the need to acknowledge the true value of water, which encompasses its financial value and its cultural impact, as well as introduce a new knowledge database which will help us understand how dams impact the environment.

Focusing on these issues are vital in order to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals – in particular Sustainable Development Goal 6, ‘Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all’.

We’re excited to launch our King’s Water Centre policy brief series. This series aims to inform and provide clarity on the water challenges that societies face. The briefs offer an opportunity for King’s academics to work with our research stakeholders to figure out the knowledge and insights that are truly valuable and practical in solving these challenges. The series is a way for us to connect further with the communities we’d like to work with and co-produce relevant research. We hope that these briefs will help policy decisions and aid answering some of the pressing questions related to water and sustainability.” – Naho Mirumachi, King’s Water Centre Co-director

King's Water Centre is launching the series at an event on 7 July.

Read the policy paper briefs

Homelessness, water insecurity, and the human rights to water and sanitation

Looking at how normal human functions have been criminalised and are surrounded in shame and stigma, this paper argues that homelessness is not only a problem of public health and urban planning, but of water policy as well.

Authors: Katie Meehan (King’s Water Centre, King’s College London), Marianne Odetola (Department of Geography, King’s College London), Alison Griswold (Department of Geography, King’s College London)

Read Homelessness, water insecurity, and the human rights to water and sanitation

Interlinking the human rights to water and sanitation with struggles for food and better livelihoods

As large scale industrial agriculture puts pressure on water resources, indigenous and marginalised communities will be the ones most affected. This paper argues that a human-rights approach to water policy is needed to prioritise communities over corporate activities.

Authors: Naho Mirumachi (King’s Water Centre, King’s College London), Alison Griswold (Department of Geography, King’s College London), Lyla Mehta (Institute of Development Studies), Shiney Varghese (Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy), Claudia Ringler (International Food Policy Research Institute)

Read Interlinking the human rights to water and sanitation with struggles for food and better livelihoods

Valuing water: a difficult but crucial step towards greater water justice

When it comes to valuing water, finances are just one part of the overall picture. In order to understand it’s true value and to ensure that water policies are inclusive, this paper looks at how water’s cultural, wellbeing and environmental benefits also need to be taken into account.

Authors: Ana Manero, Crawford School of Public Policy (Australian National University), Naho Mirumachi (King’s Water Centre, King’s College London), Lucy Everitt (Department of Geography, King’s College London), Andre Müller (Adelphi)

Read Valuing water: a difficult but crucial step towards greater water justice

Environmental intelligence for managing dams and their catchments

The Global Dam Watch (GDW) have created their knowledge-base, a collection of databases and tools to enable the curation and analysis of dam data, which will give a full understanding of both the benefits and the effects that dams have on land and water ecosystems.

Authors: Mark Mulligan (Department of Geography, King’s College London), Arnout van Soesbergen (Department of Geography, King’s College London), Lucy Everitt (Department of Geography, King’s College London)

Read Environmental intelligence for managing dams and their catchments

In this story

Naho Mirumachi

Naho Mirumachi

Professor in Environmental Politics

Katie Meehan

Katie Meehan

Reader in Environment and Society

Mark Mulligan

Mark Mulligan

Professor of Physical & Environmental Geography

Arnout van Soesbergen

Arnout van Soesbergen

Research Associate