Maine Senate approves Chenette bill to make water a public right

Posted: April 30, 2019 | Environment and Natural Resources, Senator Chenette

AUGUSTA —On Tuesday, a bill sponsored by Sen. Justin Chenette, D-Saco passed unanimously in the Maine Senate. LD 1121, “An Act To Acknowledge Potable Water as a Necessity,” defines clean drinking water as a public necessity.

“This bill starts to put us on a path of clearly defining access to clean drinking water as a universal human right within the state of Maine,” said Sen. Chenette. “Drinking water should be treated as a life necessity, because it is critical for life. Period. I’m glad the Senate has joined me in support of this.”

Currently, there are discrepancies in state law that do not reference potable water when mentioning the necessities for life across departments and programs. If the bill becomes law, those omissions would be addressed.

In 2010, the United Nations General Assembly recognized that water and sanitation should be a human right. They went on to clarify that water as a human right is as much about ensuring the quality of water people have to access to meets a high standard, as it is about access to water.

Sen. Chenette worked with the water-rights advocacy group Community Water Justice to introduce the measure.

The bill faces further votes in the House and the Senate.

Sen. Chenette is a member of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee.