Monday, October 15, 2007

Water, Water Everywhere

I know I haven’t written much recently. I spent a lot of my summer painting instead. Generally speaking, painting is much more spiritually rewarding than reading the news. Nevertheless, I was still paying attention. Here is one of the topics that caught my eye.

You think water is nature’s gift to life? Why do you hate capitalism so much? Learn more at:

I haven’t seen Thirst, but the details online are provocative. I was reminded of another documentary, The Corporation, which touched on the issue of water rights. In 2000, Bolivia tried to privatize the water supply of its third largest city, Cochabamba, by selling the system to a consortium of foreign companies, including Bechtel in the U.S. The poor in Cochabamba, living on $2 a day, would have to pay one fourth of their income for water. The contract was so broadly worded that it effectively outlawed the collection of rain water for drinking. Proponents claimed such an interpretation of the law was unenforceable. Alas, the enforceability of a given law often depends on the number of police available, not the idiocy of the law. Riots ensued; some people died; and the government backed down.

Privatizing water is all the rage these days. Last July, I found this snippet of news (left) on Democracy Now!

In August, my older brother informed me of another news item involving water — the letters “PWS” which appear on labels of Aquafina, bottled water from Pepsi. PWS stands for Public Water Source. Aquafina is municipal water in convenient (?) plastic bottles with only a modest mark-up of 7000%.

Water is essential for life; but the number of people on earth continues to rise, and the amount of clean, fresh water continues to fall. Is water a right? Or is it just another commodity?



Post a Comment

<< Home