Monday, November 10, 2008

Call me crazy...

...but I don't believe that water should be treated as a commodity, being called "the new oil" and "blue gold." Water is a human right. The WSJ reports:

Water has become a booming $500 billion industry, by some estimates... Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens, who has bought water rights for a chunk of the Ogallala aquifer in Texas and owns more water than any individual in the United States, has said the natural resource should be treated like any other commodity -- bought and sold for a profit... The world is running out of fresh H20, which accounts for just 3% of the earth's water. Recent moves by multinational corporations to privatize water sources could spell disaster for poor countries and residents with no means to pay... Geopolitical experts warn that water scarcity poses not just a public health risk, but a threat to global security. Currently, some 1.1 billion people, one-sixth of the world population, lack safe drinking water. Global water consumption is growing at unsustainable rates, doubling every 20 years, according to a March 2008 report by Goldman Sachs. A study by International Alert, a London-based conflict-resolution group, listed 46 countries with a combined population of 2.7 billion that have a "high risk" for violent conflict over water in the next two decades.

Not cool, folks. Not cool. The WSJ sat down with the newly appointed United Nation's first senior advisor on water issues, Maude Barlow (Canadian water activist who has opposed privatization for 20+ years and author of Blue Covenant) to discuss the "corporate takeover of the world's water." Read highlights from their interview here.

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