Big water companies quit poor countries
10,000 protest at water summit
Water with strings attached
4th World Water Forum [Real Player, pdf]
World Water Day [pdf]
It goes without saying that water is an essential aspect of everyday life, but for literally billions of people in the world, securing even small amounts of water is tremendously difficult, if not impossible. As the 4th World Water Forum concluded this week in Mexico City, there were a number of questions that remained on the minds of a number of organizations, policy groups, protestors, and other concerned parties. One question that was particularly vexing was the fact that in recent years, a number of large private multinational companies had been purchasing municipal water systems, particularly in the developing world, and then making significant rate increases. This development was not one lost on concerned citizens and activists either, as close to 10,000 demonstrated in Mexico City, chanting, “Water is not for sale!” While well intended, the chant might have been a bit inaccurate, as bottled water is frequently for sale in the developing world, and often it is the only kind that is drinkable. Of course, as one official pointed out at the Forum, bottled water is exponentially more expensive than providing tap water through a municipally held water facility.
The first site will take visitors to a good article on the provisioning of water by multinational companies to the world’s poor from this Wednesday’s San Jose Mercury-News. The second link leads visitors to a piece from The Guardian, which reviews a recent report from the UN that discusses how a number of companies have withdrawn from the business of supplying water in the developing world. The third link leads to a piece from Al-Jazeera on the recent protest at the World Water Forum in Mexico City. The fourth link whisks visitors away to a trenchant opinion piece about the lack of safe water supplies in the developing world authored by Joanne Green, a public policy adviser at the Tearfund organization. The fifth link leads to the homepage of the 4th World Water Forum. Here, visitors can learn about the different sessions offered at the Forum, and also review a number of working papers and archived webcasts. The final link leads to the homepage of World Water Day, where visitors can learn about the event, and examine a number of fact sheets on the state of the world’s water.