AUGUSTA —Gov. Janet Mills has signed into law a bill from Sen. Justin Chenette, D-Saco, that defines clean drinking water as a public necessity. LD 1121, “An Act To Acknowledge Potable Water as a Necessity,” received the governor’s approval on Thursday.
“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 that the Legislature and Gov. Mills have 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. This law addresses those omissions.
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.
LD 1121 will go into effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns sine die.
Sen. Chenette is a member of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee.