Water is a Human Right Resolution HJ 538


Established that the General Assembly of Virginia recognizes that access to clean, potable, and affordable water is a necessary human right. Specifically, 

“1. Access to clean, potable water in amounts that will ensure an acceptable standard of living is a necessary human right; 

2. The use of water for personal and domestic uses, such as drinking, sanitation, and food preparation, should be prioritized over the use of water by commercial or industrial entities.”

3. Effective strategies should be used by state agencies to limit contamination of water by residents, but most importantly to ensure the reduction of pollution by commercial or industrial entities, and mitigate the impact of climate change on the Commonwealth’s freshwater resources;

4. Direct or indirect costs to connect, deliver, and provide water should not be a hindrance to the access of water, and the costs of access to water should not compromise the ability to pay for other essential items, such as food, housing, and health care, so that no one is deprived of water because of inability to pay; 

5. Access to water for schools currently without adequate safe drinking water should be addressed as a matter of urgency;

6. Relevant state agencies are strongly encouraged to consider that water is a human right when revising, adopting, or establishing policies and regulations, especially when those policies are pertinent to personal and domestic uses; 

7. A statewide water affordability program would ensure that every household can afford to pay its water, wastewater, and stormwater bills based on the household’s income through percentage of income payment plans with arrears management; 

8. Water service disconnections for nonpayment are contrary to promoting public welfare and public health, and the Commonwealth must protect vulnerable populations, including seniors, youths, and medically compromised individuals, from water service disconnections; and 

9. The act of unauthorized reconnections of water services that were disconnected for an inability to pay should be decriminalized.”

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