The New Corporate Threat to Our Water Supplies
In the last few years, the world’s largest financial institutions and pension funds, from Goldman Sachs to Australia’s Macquarie Bank, have figured out that old, trustworthy utilities and infrastructure could become reliable cash cows — supporting the financial system’s speculative junk derivatives with the real concrete of highways, water utilities, airports, harbors, and transit systems. The spiraling collapse of the financial system may only intensify the quest for private investments in what is now the public sector. This flipping of public assets could be the next big phase of privatization, as local and state governments, starved during Bush’s two terms in office, look to bail out on public assets, employees, and responsibilities.
Pickens Eyes Pipelines in Drought-Ridden U.S.
Pickens is in the planning stages of a $1.5 billion initiative to pump billions of gallons of water from an ancient aquifer beneath the Texas Panhandle and build pipelines to ship them to thirsty cities such as Dallas. A drought has drained water from Texas and much of the rest of the United States. That could make water an increasingly profitable commodity for those who hold the rights. According to his Web site, Pickens owns rights to more water than anyone else. “In general, there’s a lot of it, it’s just not in the right place,” says Robert Stillwell, legal counsel for Mesa Water (and board member of the water supply district), which continues to acquire water rights in rural Texas. He dismisses questions about whether the water would be cost-competitive. For cities looking at their future water needs, he says, “cost becomes irrelevant.” As far as Mesa’s pipeline snaking across the Texas heartland, Stillwell insists that “it’s going to happen, it’s just a matter of when.” [Editor: Pickens has also been seen expressing an interest in the water of the Great Lakes region.]
Water Scarcity: The Real Food Crisis
June 9, 2008. In the discussion of the global food emergency, one underlying factor is barely mentioned: The world is running out of freshwater. Climate change, overconsumption and the alarmingly inefficient use of this most basic raw material are all to blame. I wrote a book three years ago titled When The Rivers Run Dry. It probed why the Yellow River in China, the Rio Grande and Colorado in the United States, the Nile in Egypt, the Indus in Pakistan, the Amu Darya in Central Asia, and many others are all running on empty. The confident blue lines in a million atlases simply do not tell the truth about rivers sucked dry, for the most part, to irrigate food crops.
The Growing Battle for the Right to Water
From Chile to the Philippines to South Africa to her home country of Canada, Maude Barlow is one of a few people who truly understands the scope of the world’s water woes. Her newest book, Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water, details her discoveries around the globe about our diminishing water resources, the increasing privatization trend and the grassroots groups that are fighting back against corporate theft, government mismanagement and a changing climate.
The Bottled Water Industry: When It Pours, It Reigns
Hey, all you sewer-clogging, turtle-choking, shrub-smothering plastic bags, go jump in a lake! Or an ocean — where you can be reunited with the rest of your baggy brethren in that swirling vortex of cast-off plastic we call The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. We’re just not that into putting things into you, anymore. Now, if we could only stigmatize your rigid, landfill-lovin’ cousin, the plastic water bottle. Because whereas you, my crinkly little symbol of fossil-fueled folly, are destined for history’s trash heap (where you will defiantly, proudly, refuse to decompose), bottled water is still socially acceptable, despite the fact that it threatens to poison the very wellspring of our democracy. Think that’s some kinda Kunstleresque hyperbole? Consider what Lyndon B. Johnson said forty years ago: A nation that fails to plan intelligently for the development and protection of its precious waters will be condemned to wither because of its shortsightedness.
The greatest natural resource in a four-state area, Lake Michigan’s safe keeping has increasingly become the center of concern and controversy. Many are asking questions. Is the lake safe for recreation? Is drinking water drawn by numerous communities pure? Is pollution lessening? Who are the polluters? And most of all, what is being done to safeguard the lake?