Commodification of Water, the Quintessential Issue of Our Time

via chycho

Commoditization of the commons is the most important issue of our time, the most vital aspect of which is the commodification of water, usable water (pdf) to be more precise. As Global Water Corporation, a Canadian water privatization company has stated (pdf):

“Water has moved from being an endless commodity that may be taken for granted to a rationed necessity that may be taken by force.”

Strong words indeed for an important issue. Gavin Power, the deputy director of the United Nations Global Compact, reiterated this message when he made the following statement after receiving support from some of the largest corporations in the world in an effort “to help [sic] solve the global water crisis”:

“The scale of the water problem is so big that governments can’t solve it alone. They need the help of the private sector.”

Privatization of water, however, has some serious adversaries. Veronica Lake, a Michigan-based environmental activist, in a 2004 article cautions that corporations are using the following three tactics to take control of the world’s water:

1. “Through ‘water mining’ of the aquifers and vast sources of water that feed streams, and rivers;

2. “Through long-term leases or concessions allowing corporations to take over the delivery of water systems and the collection of revenues;

3. “Through ‘managing’ municipal water systems.”

continued at chycho

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  • emperorreagan

    Everything of value in the commons is turned into a commodity. Everything that can be dumped into the commons becomes an externality that private enterprise doesn’t have to pay for.

  • bsjeffrey

    are we really worried about the canadians taking anything by force?

    • Bob McDonald

      Just Hockey pucks.

      • Anarchy Pony

        Damn Canucks!

        • http://www.facebook.com/NorthBayLetsDoThis NorthBay TakesAction

          That was a very unintellegent statement. I am very disappointed. Well hummm….let’s see……WE HAVE IT ALL ! The U.S. and other countries want to take it by force from us so they can pollute it and bump oil in it like they have done with the oceans and other bodies of water they currently use. NOW THEY ARE AFTER OUR LAKES. And if we won’t share or sell it to them THEY WILL TAKE IT FROM CANADA BY FORCE. LIKE STEAL IT.But I guess your American so you think that OK.

          • Anarchy Pony

            Are you really so stupid that you took that at face value? Holy shit.

          • Jin The Ninja

            if america wants to ‘steal’ the tar sands and/or alberta, i have no problem with that.

    • Jin The Ninja

      i don’t know…let’s see… if we tallied all the land stolen by the crown from aboriginal people…

      • Simiantongue

        Obviously when people talk about taking anything by force they mean from “real” people. You know, from people who matter. Ahem coughwhitepeoplecough.

        All that shit back in the day, that doesn’t count. Doesn’t matter, it’s in the past.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EF39O_OQm6M

    • http://www.facebook.com/NorthBayLetsDoThis NorthBay TakesAction

      Well hummm….let’s see……WE HAVE IT ALL ! The U.S. and other countries want to take it by force from us so they can pollute it and bump oil in it like they have done with the oceans and other bodies of water they currently use. NOW THEY ARE AFTER OUR LAKES. And if we won’t share or sell it to them THEY WILL TAKE IT FROM US ANYWAYS. That’s the facts my friends.

    • http://www.facebook.com/NorthBayLetsDoThis NorthBay TakesAction

      Well hummm….let’s see……WE HAVE IT ALL ! The U.S. and other countries want to take it by force from us so they can pollute it and bump oil in it like they have done with the oceans and other bodies of water they currently use. NOW THEY ARE AFTER OUR LAKES. And if we won’t share or sell it to them THEY WILL TAKE IT FROM CANADA BY FORCE. LIKE AS IN STEALING IT. That’s the facts my friends

  • adaugeo

    When do we get to go to war over air?

    • Anarchy Pony

      2053. Give or take 6 months.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=624811215 Robert Douglas Peat MacKie

    since meat production is second only to personal human consumption when it comes to water waste/consumption, hopefully this will cause the cost of meat to skyrocket

    vegans are from the future

  • alizardx

    We use water very inefficiently as a civilization. Both with conventional mechanized agricultural practices desert ag technology has been found to improve this substantially, but infrastructure is more expensive. Also, long-established public water infrastructure in cities and suburbs lose massive amounts of water, mainly through leakage. This 50-100 year old infrastructure was designed to different standards and is very hard to maintain.

    Invest in infrastructure and take the few percent hit on costs for food and the water problem goes away in our time for most of the world. From an end user POV, it’s cheaper to pay taxes / bond issues / lower water rates than it is to buy from privatized ex-public systems. Massive employment programs might be very popular these days, too.

    The hardest to maintain areas will cease to have significant populations, it would be cheaper to publicly subsidize people to move out than to provide public infrastructure in places like the US Southwest.

    As for privatizing formerly public water, no upside for end users. Service does NOT improve, water quality won’t,. either, except in a few cases where the outside investors actually do capital investment in the system.

    As for water wars, take a look at the history of the US West.