Sixty-four deputies of the Slovenian Parliament supported the introduction of the right to drinking water into the Constitution of Slovenia. Thus, Slovenia has become the second EU member state, after Slovakia, to guarantee a human right to drinking water at the constitutional level.
The Constitution will be added with the Article 70a, which states that everyone has the right to drinking water, and water resources are a public good administrated by the State. The article points out that water resources are used for the priority provision of population with drinking water, and in this part they may not be considered as goods.
Now, according to the Constitution, the problem of supplying households with drinking water is assigned to the State and shall be guaranteed thereby on a commercial basis with the participation of local communities and municipalities.
Most of the deputy groups in the parliament supported this project, while the critical attitude was expressed only by the Democrats (SDS — the Slovenian Democratic Party) and the representatives of the Party of Christian Democrats — Nova Slovenija (NSi).
The Constitutional law confers on the Parliament the requirement to agree on the texts of the existing laws with the new provisions of the Constitution over the next 18 months. The Constitutional Law shall officially enter into force on the eighth day after its adoption.
The first attempt to introduce the right to drinking water into the Constitution of Slovenia took place in 2013, but then the early elections prevented voting. Then, in April 2015, a similar bill was introduced by a group of MPs from the Alenko Bratušek Alliance (ZaAB), the Democratic Party of Pensioners of Slovenia (DeSUS), the Social Democratic Party (SD), and the United Left Party (ZL) led by the former Prime Minister Alenko Bratušek.
According to forecasts of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the shortage of drinking water will become a serious problem in future. The organisation argues that the demand for drinking water by 2050 will grow by 55%, and about 50% of the world’s population will live in water shortage conditions. The OECD also forecasts a significant deterioration in the quality of drinking water.
Adding the Right to Drinking Water into the Constitution of Slovenia Caused a Positive Response
The deputies’ decision on the introduction of the right to drinking water into the Constitution of Slovenia caused a positive reaction. The civil initiative ‘Za Slovenijo in svobodo’, however, reminded that it was only the first step, and the Amnesty International Organisation drew attention to the problem of the Roma, who were often forced to take water from the polluted streams and public stand-pipes. The Amnesty International Organisation welcomes the introduction of the right to drinking water into the Constitution of Slovenia, because it reinforces a human right on the highest level.