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The Right to Water and Sustainable Consumption in EU Law

I. Benöhr ()
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I. Benöhr: Queen Mary University of London

Journal of Consumer Policy, 2023, vol. 46, issue 1, No 3, 53-77

Abstract: Abstract The right to water has gathered momentum in recent years in Europe, having become the subject of the first European citizens’ initiative and emerging as a human right. The right to water, however, is in constant, and not always linear, evolution as it faces fundamental trade-offs; on the one hand, access to clean and affordable water is essential to ensure a basic standard of living. On the other, water is an increasingly limited resource, so unfettered access to it increases the threat of scarcity and pollution. This article examines the interplay between the right to water and sustainable consumption objectives, exploring how innovation in regulation and best practice could reduce the risks to health and water scarcity. As water regulation affects multiple areas of law, the article will examine the right to water and sustainable consumption from a human rights’ angle and taking a consumer law and environmental protection perspective. A particular focus will be on the Water Framework Directive and the recently revised Drinking Water Directive, examining incentives that promote water rights and sustainable water use. Key regulatory instruments will be evaluated, ranging from information and education tools to economic and social incentives. Finally, the article will propose new measures to align the right to water with the objective of sustainable consumption.

Keywords: Water rights; Sustainable consumption; Consumer law (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2023
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DOI: 10.1007/s10603-022-09532-5

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