One Way to Look At It
- The fresh water supplies that the human population depends on are less than .05 percent of all the water on Earth.
- Global consumption of water is doubling every 20 years, more than twice the rate of human population growth. Most of this water is being used in industry, poorly planned waste disposal systems, and environmentally destructive corporate agricultural practices.
- More than 1 billion people on Earth already lack access to fresh drinking water. If the current trend continues, the demand for fresh water will be 56 percent higher than the amount that is currently available.
- More than five million people die every year from illnessess caused by drinking poor-quality water.
- In India, some households pay 25 percent of their income on water. Poor residents of Lima, Peru pay private vendors $3 for a cubic meter of often-contaminated water, while the more affluent pay 30cents per cubic meter for treated municipal tap water.
- In the US, only two percent of our rivers and wetlands remain free-flowing and undeveloped. Thirty seven percent of this country's freshwater fish are at risk of extinction, and 40 percent of amphibians are imperiled.
- As the water crisis worsens, multinational corporations are pushing to commodify and control water. Governments have already given away much of their control over domestic water supplies to corporations through NAFTA and the WTO.
- Sun Belt, a California-based company, is suing Canada under NAFTA for $220 million because British Columbia has a ban on water exports.
- Under the protection of NAFTA and the WTO, corporations are preparing for the mass transport of bulk water by super tanker for those who can buy it. They are currently developing the technology to transport water in huge sealed bags so it can be towed across the ocean for sale.
- The US Global Water Corporation has signed an agreement with a city of Alaska to export water to China where it will be bottled, so to take advantage of cheap labor. The company's brochure tells investors "to harvest the accelerating opportunity...as traditional sources of water around the world become progressively depleted and degraded."
(source: "The Global Water Crisis and the Commodification of the World's Water Supply," by Maude Barlow, online at http://www.ifg.org/bgsummary.html)