The Next Frontier For Exploitation…..WATER!

Now that Oil is reaching a peak and countries seek out alternatives to oil, of course a new ‘need’ had to be built up.

Water is a precious resource. There is no denying that. Our very existence depends on it, especially fresh drinking water! While it is in abundance in some places, it is scarce in others. Good solid water management is indeed necessary. Unfortunately, as we have had the sorrow of learning, governments cannot be trusted to do what is right for ALL the people. There are far too many special interest groups fighting to keep what they see as their “right” to themselves while making it harder for others to enjoy that same “right”.

Common Dreams had a good piece yesterday about Water becoming the new “Oil”. Considering how many of us actually PAY for fresh drinking water (I know I buy bottled spring water), it should come as no surprise that eventually, someone would find a way to make water a commodity. Now that a so-called “food crisis” is upon us, you can be sure that a new ‘water crisis‘ will come to light.

Is Water Becoming ‘The New Oil’?
Population, pollution, and climate put the squeeze on potable supplies – and private companies smell a profit. Others ask: Should water be a human right?

by Marc Clayton

Public fountains are dry in Barcelona, Spain, a city so parched there’s a €9,000 ($13,000) fine if you’re caught watering your flowers. A tanker ship docked there this month carrying 5 million gallons of precious fresh water – and officials are scrambling to line up more such shipments to slake public thirst.0530 05

Barcelona is not alone. Cyprus will ferry water from Greece this summer. Australian cities are buying water from that nation’s farmers and building desalination plants. Thirsty China plans to divert Himalayan water. And 18 million southern Californians are bracing for their first water-rationing in years.

Water, Dow Chemical Chairman Andrew Liveris told the World Economic Forum in February, “is the oil of this century.” Developed nations have taken cheap, abundant fresh water largely for granted. Now global population growth, pollution, and climate change are shaping a new view of water as “blue gold.”

Water’s hot-commodity status has snared the attention of big equipment suppliers like General Electric as well as big private water companies that buy or manage municipal supplies – notably France-based Suez and Aqua America, the largest US-based private water company.

Global water markets, including drinking water distribution, management, waste treatment, and agriculture are a nearly $500 billion market and growing fast, says a 2007 global investment report.

But governments pushing to privatize costly to maintain public water systems are colliding with a global “water is a human right” movement. Because water is essential for human life, its distribution is best left to more publicly accountable government authorities to distribute at prices the poorest can afford, those water warriors say.

“We’re at a transition point where fundamental decisions need to be made by societies about how this basic human need – water – is going to be provided,” says Christopher Kilian, clean-water program director for the Boston-based Conservation Law Foundation. “The profit motive and basic human need [for water] are just inherently in conflict.”

Will “peak water” displace “peak oil” as the central resource question? Some see such a scenario rising.

“What’s different now is that it’s increasingly obvious that we’re running up against limits to new [fresh water] supplies,” says Peter Gleick, a wat­­­er expert and president of the Pacific In­­­sti­­tute for Studies in Development, En­­vi­­­ron­­ment, and Sec­­ur­­ity, a nonpartisan think tank in Oak­land, Calif. “It’s no long­­er cheap and easy to drill another well or dam another river.”

The idea of “peak water” is an imperfect analogy, he says. Unlike oil, water is not used up but only changes forms. The world still has the same 326 quintillion gallons, NASA estimates.

But some 97 percent of it is salty. The world’s re­maining accessi­ble fresh-water supplies are divided among industry (20 percent), agriculture (70 per­­cent), and domestic use (10 percent), according to the United Nations.

~snip~

“While water is essential to life, and we believe everyone deserves the right of access to water, that doesn’t mean water is free or should be provided free,” says Peter Cook, executive director of the NAWC. “Water should be priced at the cost to provide it – and subsidized for those who can’t afford it.”

But private companies’ promises of efficient, cost-effective water delivery have not always come true. Bolivia ejected giant engineering firm Bechtel in 2000, unhappy over the spiking cost of water for the city of Cochabamba. Last year Bolivia’s president publicly celebrated the departure of French water company Suez, which had held a 30-year contract to supply La Paz.

In her book, “Blue Covenant,” Maude Barlow – one of the leaders of the fledgling “water justice” movement – sees a dark future if private monopolies control access to fresh water. She sees this happening when, instead of curbing pollution and increasing conservation, governments throw up their hands and sell public water companies to the private sector or contract with private desalination companies.

“Water is a public resource and a human right that should be available to all,” she says. “All these companies are doing is recycling dirty water, selling it back to utilities and us at a huge price. But they haven’t been as successful as they want to be. People are concerned about their drinking water and they’ve met resistance.”
Private-water industry officials say those pushing to make water a “human right” are ideologues struggling to preserve inefficient public water authorities that sell water below the cost to produce it and so cheaply it is wasted – doing little to extend service to the poor.

“There are three basic things in life: food, water, and air,” says Paul Marin, who three years ago led a successful door-to-door campaign to keep the town council of Emmaus, Pa., from selling its local water company. “In this country, we have privatized our food. Now there’s a lot of interest in water on Wall Street…. But I can tell you it’s putting the fox in charge of the henhouse to privatize water. It’s a mistake.”

Water and war: Will scarcity lead to conflict?

~snip~

© 2008 The Christian Science Monitor

Read the FULL STORY here.

They say that meat and dairy industries use a lot of water to produce their food products. I’m not sure how accurate that is, but I can tell that this argument is going to be used to push us all into being vegitarians, whether we like it or not.

Are these important issues nonsense? NO! However, IF we sit back and leave the solutions up to those in charge, then we deserve whatever controls they put on us all. And I just know they’ll have us all constantly thirsty, and limiting our washing and bathing so we are usually dirty and smelling bad as part of that control. We can’t just sit back and blindly accept all these so-called expert reports. We need to be pro-active. Fairness and equitable distribution is a must. Common sense has to also play into this big time.

Do we really need totally salt free water to bathe in and wash our clothes in? I don’t think so. While the bulk of the water on the planet may indeed be too salty, I also don’t think it needs to be completely desalinated for our cleanliness. We really only need desalinated water for food and drinking consumption.

What we need are real management groups with common sense to ensure that all have fresh drinking water. Unfortunately I don’t trust any so-called management groups right now because they all have an agenda, and I’m sure some “special interest group” is backing them in some way. This leaves too much room for mis-managment in order to create a crisis which will of course profit someone somewhere, while hurting millions in the process.

This might also explain our own government’s interest in controlling ALL the waters of the U.S., not just the maritime waters, but ALL (which could include your well[s] if they so desired to claim them). I think the government has already proven that it can’t find it’s way out of a paper bag, so how the hell are we supposed to trust them to keep our water supply safe? We can’t, we can only know that they will keep it as safe and clean as THEY want it to be, as long as it doesn’t affect them. I mean look at all the chemicals and drugs that are found in our water supplies now. And while they put on a good show of being appalled, you haven’t heard a word about solutions since then, have you? As long as they can buy their clean water, they don’t give a damn about yours.

`(24) WATERS OF THE UNITED STATES- The term `waters of the United States’ means all waters subject to the ebb and flow of the tide, the territorial seas, and all interstate and intrastate waters and their tributaries, including lakes, rivers, streams (including intermittent streams), mudflats, sandflats, wetlands, sloughs, prairie potholes, wet meadows, playa lakes, natural ponds, and all impoundments of the foregoing, to the fullest extent that these waters, or activities affecting these waters, are subject to the legislative power of Congress under the Constitution.’.

I’m all for conservation and good management. What I’m NOT for is any plan that allows any government or agency to control what people are allowed or not allowed. I’m NOT for these control freaks having the ability to hold us all ransom for a few drops of fresh water IF they feel so inclined to give it. And THIS is what it will come down to.

I strongly suggest we all start reading, or re-reading to refresh our memories, George Orwell’s 1984 and also Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. I think we all need to be reminded of what ‘could be’ if we just sit back and buy into every thing some so-called expert claims.

Unless we all want to become some form of “Stepford” person, I suggest we all start waking up and actually using some real common sense here, along with a strong dose of doing the right thing to benefit everyone not just the selected elite.

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~ by swfreedomlover on May 31, 2008.

2 Responses to “The Next Frontier For Exploitation…..WATER!”

  1. have you ever read or seen the documentary “Cadillac Desert” by Mark Reisner?

    very informative, from many years ago, well before water became an issue in the generally moist eastern US.

  2. Water, food, oil. Crisis, crisis, crisis. It all seems the same I agree. It’s tough for us who have plenty (seemingly) of water and endless food and oil (even though it is expensive. No matter how expensive oil gets, we will still buy it. Yes, many people (at least in North America) drive gas guzzlers. We still eat to our heart’s content and we still use water like there’s no tomorrow.

    I myself believe that water is something that we can make a difference in right away, I, being from Canada, know that we are the second biggest water wasters on the planet (we use 335 litres a day on average, that 112,000 litres a year!). The US is in first place, but not by much. The average person in a developing country (like in Africa) use 5 to 10 litres a day. So on a daily basis, we use 335 litres to take showers, run laundry, water our lawns, let the tap run while brushing our teeth, flush toilets, etc etc etc. Obviously we won’t stop doing these things, but there are ways we can immediately impact how much we use without spending money, unlike saving oil (besides driving less or buying an expensive hybrid).

    I agree with you, water should be treated as a human right, not a commodity that can be horded together by governments and corporations. People will figure out a way to charge for things when they go ‘scarce’ but I believe that since water is something we all need to survice, that a realization that it is or will be an issue will inspire people. I can only hope.

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