As global supplies diminish and climate change threatens future supplies even more, water as a human right has received increasing attention among human rights scholars and in international commissions and agreements. In this article, the author argues that the right to water should be recognized as a basic right in and of itself, not merely as a component of the right to development or to a healthy life. The right to water, described both substantively and procedurally, is an "emergent" right that uniquely connects present and future generations into a relationship of justice involving reciprocity. As such, the human right to water needs to be not only a part of international politics and law, but must also percolate down to the local level in specific policy decisions regarding land use, zoning, and development. It is time for human rights to return to those "small places, close to home" where Eleanor Roosevelt famously claimed that they invariably originate. A primary example is the local regulation of golf courses, especially in light of their profligate water usage. A golf course's impact on neighboring communities and, by implication, on a global water system is, therefore, a legitimate focus of human rights litigation and advocacy.


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pp. 326-341
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