"The UN General Assembly on Wednesday recognized access to clean water and sanitation as a human right, a move hailed by water advocates as a momentous step toward a future treaty.
After more than 15 years of contentious debate on the issue, 122 countries voted in favor of a compromise Bolivian resolution enshrining the right, while the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and 37 other nations abstained.
The non-binding text "declares the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right that is essential for the full enjoyment of the right to life."
It expresses deep concern that 884 million people lack access to safe drinking water and that more 2.6 billion do not have access to basic sanitation.
It notes that roughly two million people die every year from diseases caused by unsafe water and sanitation, most of them small children."