The available fresh water on this planet is more than adequate for our human needs, but runaway global warming, unchecked toxic pollution, climate change, mismanagement and hoarding for wasteful industrial uses, renders most of it unsafe for human consumption or simply unavailable to the Peoples of this Earth. Further Climate Change caused droughts and precipitation shifts as well as humidity pattern changes, render the seasonal rainfall uncertain and the melting glaciers cause further water unavailability, rain loss, and desertification. Add to this the increasing demands of a maturing global population and the additional two Billion people entering our fold and you have a crisis of real global magnitude.
According to the Environmental Parliament Report on the stresses placed on the Environment by Human agricultural, industrial, and economic activities, water is the number one issue. Because more than 66% of the people of this Earth — fully two thirds of the world’s population – will face acute water shortages as soon as the year 2025. These water shortages are already present and just a measure of it are the 75 million climate refugees this year alone that have shifted, because of lack of access to water.
And let us not forget that the access to clean water is a human right as was accepted by the United Nations general assembly back in 2010 after years of lobbying by the Environmental Parliament to enshrine the right to Clean Water as a Human Right, along with the right to Clean Air and Clean adequate sustainable food. Out of these three rights we have proposed to the United Nations, we now have the one. Water…
On July 28, 2010, the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly agreed to a resolution declaring the human right to “safe and clean drinking water and sanitation.”
Yet after establishing the Right to Clean Water as a basic Human Right for human consumption and sanitation, we are facing the most severe test ever. How can we enforce such a right when all we have is barely enough for one third of humanity only?
Because based on critical and conservative scientific modeling, water scarcity is the name of the day. And fully 66 per cent of the world’s population will face severe water shortages by 2025 and this concurs with all the UN research and scientific studies, as well as all available data from the IPCC. Most of this water shortage is because of our wasteful behaviour towards our fresh water resources, from mismanagement of our shared water wealth and from inequitable distribution.
Two weeks ago in Marseilles, the 6th World Water Forum took place, and yet despite lagging attendance and Sarkozy being a no show, it was a grand opportunity for multinational water corporations to solidify their plans to further privatize water found in nature. And this is a “Prova Generale” or a dress rehearsal and a small preview of their incessant greenwashing efforts scheduled to play large at the upcoming Rio+20 negotiations this June.
And thanks largely to Canada’s – environmental pariah – successful efforts to weaken the language in the forum’s ministerial document regarding the human right to water, because of their vast water commitments to the Tar Sands industry, and as demonstrated by the banking industry’s plans to integrate water trading into futures markets, and to create derivative water-based financial instruments, the privatization of water has accelerated dramatically, creating a setback for the critical human right to water as resolved by the UN general assembly overwhelmingly back in 2010.
And because we have already seen the ‘casino of hunger’ created by speculation on commodity crops, and we have seen the global food crisis that caused millions to starve and was caused by a tidal wave of Wall Street speculation, we remain skeptical of their goals. Because now the same dismal economic interests, are proposing the same type of financial mechanisms to create a supposed ‘green economy,’ while the real agenda is to create a speculative market with the potential to create great wealth for the corporations and economic institutions promoting this strategy, by hoarding the water that people need to survive further intensifying the water stresses already at play across the globe.
At the opening plenary of the Alternative World Water Forum, which drew approximately 5,000 attendees, the UN special rapporteur for the right to water and sanitation, Catarina de Albuquerque, said, ‘Be vigilant. The Marseille Ministerial Declaration is already being used at the Human Rights Council in Geneva to weaken the human right to water.”
These rights to water are inalienable and unalterable. We just need better interpretation and application for the relevant people. And we must balance these interests with those that allow the finance community and the markets to allocate the water resources efficiently also.
At Rio+20, where global leaders will meet to make commitments towards carbon reductions 20 years after the UN’s first Conference on Sustainable Development, multinational corporations are playing a key role in lobbying for the financialization of water and natural resources overall, complete with futures markets and other derivative based financial instruments to enable water speculation.
Yet, we must remember that we can’t survive a mortgage type crisis for water. And further it’s not a green economy that these interests are promoting, but rather it’s a greenwashing skewed economy. A Greenwashing corporate effort which will do nothing to help mitigate climate change, water shortages or other pending environmental disasters, but rather exacerbate all of these human rights issues.
The looming crisis is so large that water wars are already taking shape on the horizon damaging security and stability globally.
Yet most importantly people go thirsty as we speak…
What is there to do?
Maybe we can start thinking sustainably about our water wealth, as long term investors.
Sustainability in our water choices now and for the future is the key.
Investing in public water systems, conservation and recycling seems to be the only answer.
As an example, Israel recycles fully 82 per cent of it’s water and leads the way in conservation and efficiency of water wealth globally without any privatization mechanisms for water.
Why not learn from this example?
And cleaning up our act goes a long way in creating more water availability from presently polluted aquifers.
The reclamation and the clean up of the river Thames water system is a good guide of what we can accomplish in twenty short years…