Research Handbook on Law, Environment and the Global South
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Research Handbook on Law, Environment and the Global South

Edited by Philippe Cullet and Sujith Koonan

This comprehensive Research Handbook offers an innovative analysis of environmental law in the global South and contributes to an important reassessment of some of its major underlying concepts. The Research Handbook discusses areas rarely prioritized in environmental law, such as land rights, and underlines how these intersect with issues including poverty, livelihoods and the use of natural resources, challenging familiar narratives around development and sustainability in this context and providing new insights into environmental justice.
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Chapter 18: Realisation of the right to water: lessons from South Africa

Michael Kidd


This chapter considers the South African experiences in relation to fulfilling the right of access to water. It deals with the relevant legal framework and analyses the challenges in relation to achievement of access to water where there was no such access before; deliberate restriction of the right of access to water; and restriction of the right to water that is not deliberate. Cross-cutting issues including the amount of water regarded as ‘sufficient’ and water quality are also evaluated in relation to access to water. The South African experience demonstrates that not only provision of new water services is important, but also non-regression in relation to existing access. It is clear that law plays an important role in achieving both access and preventing undue restrictions to access, but more is needed, such as appropriate financing, good governance and, where necessary and feasible, consumer payment for water services.

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