Human Right to Water Resolution
During the 2021 VA General Assembly, Virginia Interfaith Power & Light in collaboration with Food and Water Watch led the effort to pass the Human Right to Water Resolution (HJ538). Sponsored by Delegate Aird, the resolution presents that water is a human right. The realities of the COVID-19 pandemic have exacerbated and amplified the critical importance of water as a quality of life issue. For some residents, access to clean and affordable drinking water may be the difference between sickness and health or life and death. Virginians across the state have been and continue to be locked out of equitable water sources due to affordability challenges.
As the effects of climate change worsen, freshwater and groundwater are increasingly threatened by storm surges, sea-level rise, overuse, and drought. There are multiple ways that Virginia already experience these impacts including the Potomac Aquifer that provides water for 4 million Virginians is diminishing, and sea levels in the Hampton Roads region have risen 14 inches since 1950 in Virginia. Though we do not live in a desert, there are several growing threats to water access for VA residents, and it is imperative for the state of Virginia to acknowledge its responsibility to protect its water resources and ensure equity for its residents to access and afford water for growing food, cooking, bathing, and drinking.
Though this resolution has passed in the General Assembly, it is only the first step in ensuring that water remains accessible, affordable, and potable for all Virginians.
Learn more about the resolution by watching our telepresser event from 2020 with Delegate Aird and other local experts here.
Be sure to check out our General Assembly page to remain updated on our policy priorities.