Archive | Water

Water for profit

How multinationals are taking control of a public resource

Canadian Broadcasting produced this comprehensive 5-part series in 2003 on water privatization. Check it out.

Water, like air, is a necessity of human life. It is also, according to Fortune magazine, "One of the world’s great business opportunities. It promises to be to the 21st century what oil was to the 20th."

In the past ten years, three giant global corporations have quietly assumed control over the water supplied to almost 300 million people in every continent of the world. A 12-month investigation by journalists in Canada, the U.S., Europe, Asia and Latin America shows that the results range from questionable to disastrous. And it shows how well-meaning municipal governments in the U.S. and Canada can become vulnerable to the persuasive techniques of these high-powered corporate giants. 

Water is a right, not a commodity to be bought and sold to whoever pays the most. Privatization of water is being forced by multinationals, aided and abetted by the World Bank. It generally ends up depriving the needy of that most basic right, the right to drink clean, affordable water.

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Mexico: Demands surfacing for water

Environmental issues scarcely make the top of the news unless a disaster occurs, such as Hurricane Stan, or unless a homicide claims an activist, such as Parota Dam opponent Tomás Cruz Zamora.

So it is not surprising that the Mexican Coalition of Organizations for the Right to Water attracted little attention with its Oct. 11 debut.

But the minimal coverage belies the groundswell of interest in water issues that is building in the lead-up to the World Bank’s Fourth World Water Forum set for March in Mexico City. The 16 groups that recently founded the coalition will sponsor an alternative to the event, featuring a tribunal that will bring to task three cases of water mismanagement in the hemisphere.

The main concerns of the water activists are unfair distribution of water, privatization of water services, and lack of mechanisms guaranteeing public participation in water decisions.

This is a worldwide issue and struggle. Large corporations, aided and abetted by the World Bank, want to privatize water. Inevitably the price of water goes up and the quality goes down when public water is privatized. Access to clean, low cost water is a right. It shouldn’t be controlled by corporations who only care about making a profit. 

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