Politics and society

When Chile privatized water, mining companies were given nearly all the water rights in that country, free of charge. Today, they control Chile’s water market and the shortage of water has served to push up prices.[i] 

100 000 people blocked a highway and a city centre because of the threat of private corporations buying water rights in Cochabamba in Bolivia. One boy of 17 years was killed and over 100 people were wounded. After this the contract was cancelled and the operation of water supplies was duly returned to the public water utility.[ii]

9 of the 10 major growth markets for private sector participation in water and sanitation are in countries with high risks of corruption.[iii]

A mayor in Grenoble, France, Alain Carignon received over 19 million francs in bribes from Suez, in order for him to give a subsidiary of Suez responsibility for water operations. This has also happened in two other cases in France, with Jean-Dominique Deschamps and Jean-Michel Boucheron, with bribes from Veolia.[iv]

The boundaries of the state Israel are to some degree the result of water considerations.[v]

In places like Valencia, Spain; Tucumán, Argentina; Szeged, Hungary; and Cochabamba, Bolivia, the public authorities have tried to cancel contracts. The end result has been negative for the authorities since the cancellation has been made very expensive because the global water corporations have either threatened or carried out threats to sue for damages, thereby making the cancellation incredibly expensive.[vi]

Iraq threatened to bomb a Syrian dam in a disagreement over the water of the Euphrates Rives that flows through Turkey, Iraq and Syria.[vii]

Some water treaties date back more than 1000 years and there are more than 2000 water treaties in the world.[viii]

Conflict over the water resources of the River Jordan is one of the reasons for the Six Day War in 1967 between Israel and its Arab neighbors.[ix]

A wealthy American industrialist has been buying freshwater lakes to leave to his grandchildren.[x]

The burden of expensive water fall on the poor in the community because the poorer the community the more expensive are investments and thus the greater are the risks.[xi]

It is difficult to get information about the water industry from the companies themselves because it has been plagued by a lack of transparency. One corporate executive actually goes so far as to say that “as long as water was coming out of the tap, the public had no right to any information as to how it got there”.[xii]

East Punjab (India) cut off the water flowing in the river Indus through West Punjab (Pakistan) in 1948, and would not restore the flow unless West Punjab recognized that it had no right to the water.[xiii]

Because of water-incited murders, boys as young as nine have been put in jail in Pakistan. The problem with water ownership is prominent in Pakistan, with disputes at the lowest as well as at the highest level; between farmers, between villages, cities and irrigation districts, between regions, states and provinces and between India and Pakistan.[xiv]

In 1996 the shortage of water in Yorkshire was so bad that Yorkshire Water had to buy water from Newcastle. This was because the infrastructure had not been taken care of, and the water simply leaked away.[xv]

Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, ran so low on water in 1995 that its citizens could turn on their taps only every second or third day.[xvi]

An increasing number of NGOs, civil-society and non-profitmaking organizations are likewise engaged in the struggle against the privatization of water.[xvii]

Bibliograpy


[i] Barlow, Maude and Tony Clarke (2002): Blue Gold: The Battle Against Corporate Theft of the World’s Water. London: Earthscan Publications Ltd
[ii] Holland, Ann-Christin Sjölander (2005): The Water Business: Corporation Versus People. London: Zed Books
[iii] Gleick, H., Peter (1993) Water in Crisis: A Guide to the World’s Fresh Water Resources. Oxford: Oxford University Press, Inc.
[iv] Holland, Ann-Christin Sjölander (2005): The Water Business: Corporation Versus People. London: Zed Books
[v] De Villiers, Marq (1999): Water Wars: Is the World’s Water Running Out?. London: Butler and Tanner Ltd
[vi] Barlow, Maude and Tony Clarke (2002): Blue Gold: The Battle Against Corporate Theft of the World’s Water. London: Earthscan Publications Ltd
[vii] Holland, Ann-Christin Sjölander (2005): The Water Business: Corporation Versus People. London: Zed Books
[viii] Gleick, H., Peter (1993): Water in Crisis: A Guide to the World’s Fresh Water Resources. Oxford: Oxford University Press, Inc.
[ix] Holland, Ann-Christin Sjölander (2005): The Water Business: Corporation Versus People. London: Zed Books
[x] De Villiers, Marq (1999): Water Wars: Is the World’s Water Running Out?. London: Butler and Tanner Ltd
[xi] Holland, Ann-Christin Sjölander (2005): The Water Business: Corporation Versus People. London: Zed Books
[xii]Barlow, Maude and Tony Clarke (2002): Blue Gold: The Battle Against Corporate Theft of the World’s Water. London: Earthscan Publications Ltd
[xiii] Gleick, H., Peter (1993): Water in Crisis: A Guide to the World’s Fresh Water Resources. Oxford: Oxford University Press, Inc.
[xiv] Ward, Diane Raines (2002): Water Wars: Drought, Flood, Folly, and the Politics of Thirst. New York: Riverhead Books
[xv] Holland, Ann-Christin Sjölander (2005): The Water Business: Corporation Versus People. London: Zed Books
[xvi] Barlow, Maude and Tony Clarke (2002): Blue Gold: The Battle Against Corporate Theft of the World’s Water. London: Earthscan Publications Ltd
[xvii] Holland, Ann-Christin Sjölander (2005): The Water Business: Corporation Versus People. London: Zed Books
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