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Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:10 PM

Corporate Land Grabs Reveal a Hidden Agenda: Controlling the Water

Corporate Land Grabs Reveal a Hidden Agenda: Controlling the Water
By Shiney Varghese
Alternet
January 24, 2013

Writing in National Geographic in December 2012 about “small-scale irrigation techniques with simple buckets, affordable pumps, drip lines, and other equipment” that “are enabling farm families to weather dry seasons, raise yields, diversify their crops, and lift themselves out of poverty” water expert Sandra Postel of the Global Water Policy Project cautioned against reckless land and water-related investments in Africa. “Unless African governments and foreign interests lend support to these farmer-driven initiatives, rather than undermine them through land and water deals that benefit large-scale, commercial schemes, the best opportunity in decades for societal advancement in the region will be squandered.”

That same month, the online publication Market Oracle reported that “ the new ‘water barons’—the Wall Street banks and elitist multibillionaires—are buying up water all over the world at unprecedented pace.” The report reveals two phenomena that have been gathering speed, and that could potentially lead to profit accumulation at the cost of communities and commons —the expansion of market instruments beyond the water supply and sanitation to other areas of water governance, and the increasingly prominent role of financial institutions.

In several instances this has meant that the government itself has set up public corporations that run like a business, contracting out water supply and sanitation operations to those with expertise, or entering into public–private–partnerships, often with water multinationals. This happened recently in Nagpur and New Delhi , India. In most rural areas, ensuring a clean drinking water supply and sanitation continues to be a challenge. For-profit companies such as Sarvajal have begun setting up pre-paid water kiosks (or water ATMs) that would dispense units of water upon the insertion of a pre-paid card. It is no surprise that these are popular among people who otherwise have no access to clean drinking water.

With climate change, however, the water crisis is no longer perceived as confined to developing countries or even primarily a concern related to water supply and sanitation. Fresh water commons are becoming degraded and depleted in both developed and developing countries. In the United States, diversion of water for expanded commodity crop production, biofuels and gas hydro-fracking is compounding the crisis in rural areas. In areas ranging from the Ogallala aquifer to the Great Lakes in North America, water has been referred to as liquid gold. Billionaires such as T. Boone Pickens have been buying up land overlying the Ogallala aquifer, acquiring water rights ; companies such as Dow Chemicals, with a long history of water pollution , are investing in the business of water purification , making pollution itself a cash-cow.

More:
http://www.globalpolicy.org/component/content/article/215-global-public-goods/52233-corporate-land-grabs-reveal-a-hidden-agenda-controlling-the-water.html

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Reply Corporate Land Grabs Reveal a Hidden Agenda: Controlling the Water (Original post)
Judi Lynn Feb 2013 OP
Bill USA Feb 2013 #1
CRH Feb 2013 #2
octoberlib Feb 2013 #3

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 08:45 PM

1. very important info. recommended!

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 08:41 AM

2. The future of fresh water, ...

within the evolving dynamics and locations resulting from climate change, promises to be a future crisis exacerbated by control of the commons by the few. It has been accelerating globally for several decades as corporations gain more rights than the indigenous and individuals.

If it wasn't so sad it would be comical, the avenues of profit the corporation can and will seek. From the quoted OP -

Billionaires such as T. Boone Pickens have been buying up land overlying the Ogallala aquifer, acquiring water rights ; companies such as Dow Chemicals, with a long history of water pollution , are investing in the business of water purification , making pollution itself a cash-cow.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 04:26 PM

3. I watched the documentary Blue Gold

and was shocked to learn that US cities have been selling their water rights to British and French corporations. As soon as they did so , of course, water rates went up while the quality of the water declined. With water scarcity getting worse this seems incredibly short-sighted.

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