So, who owns water? Our oceans? Our lakes? Our rivers? In most cases, actually no one! On the other hand, who owns our drinking water? Corporate giants are buying up global water resources and charging for the right of human access to drinking water. Also, we are all too familiar with the likes of Nestles and other multinational giants who control water aquafers, bottle and then sell water for profit.
In 2002 the United Nations declared that water is a basic human right. This right to water “entitles everyone to have access to sufficient, safe, acceptable, physically accessible and affordable water for personal and domestic use.” In 2019 the UN reported that 2.2 billion people lack access to safely managed drinking water services (WHO/UNICEF). In addition, global projections show a steady depletion of many of our world water resources.
What can we do to prevent the unjust commodification and privatization of water where it affects the human right of access to safe, affordable, drinking water?
- Make sure that no one in your area has their water supply shut off, especially during the current global pandemic.
- In North America, keep informed and lobby to ensure that your water is locally owned and government operated fairly.
- In the UK and Europe join with justice groups working to derivatize the control of public water where important.
- Protest where possible against the excessive use of water for luxury situations such as endless golf courses.
- Continue your commitment to ban the sale and use of bottled water wherever and whenever possible.
- Watch the short video “The Story of Stuff – Who Controls The Way We Drink”:
- Work with justice groups to ensure that Native Americans and Indigenous Canadians have access to clean drinking water. Over 2 million Native Americans need access to clean drinking water, and drinking advisories continue in reserves across Canada to the degree that some have only known bottle water for 25 years.