Life on earth is utterly dependent upon water. The average human needs a minimum of fifty liters of water per day to drink, to cook with, to wash, for sanitation and to grow food.
There are gross inequities in the way that water is consumed around the world.
The average person living in the United States uses between 250 and 300 liters of water per day. The average Somalian, however, lives from less than 9 liters per day.
Not only is water scarce in many parts of the world, but it is often polluted or otherwise disrupted through human activities including large-scale hydropower projects, industrial and urban pollution, deforestation, pesticide use, waste disposal and mining. Global ecosystem transformations caused by climate change and desertification also impact the availability of water.
The privatisation of water sources around the world is a growing problem. Water is a basic human right, and although water management in the public interest may be necessary, this vital resource should not be subject to ownership.
International financial institutions, hand-in-hand with multinational water corporations, are paving the way by conditioning their loans to poor countries upon privatization promises. Trade treaties are helping by requiring countries to deregulate their water sectors and open them up to private investment.
The world’s poorest people are desperately in need of water and sanitation services, but experience has shown that they are just further marginalized when their countries follow the corporate mode of privatization. Unable to afford connection to the services, they are condemned to using water that runs the risk of being contaminated.
Since the beginning of 2000 corporations such as Nestlé, Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux, and Unilever have been simultaneously trying to convince us that they are committed to promoting sustainability and water efficiency whilst their CEOs join together to demand that water be recognised as an economic good rather than as a human right.
"Today, companies like France's Suez are rushing to privatise water, already a $400 billion global business. They are betting that H2O will be to the 21st century what oil was to the 20th." - Fortune Magazine
In 2004 the Tap Water Awards aim to highlight the struggles against privatization, and are dedicated to supporting proposals for new models based on collective, communal systems that respond directly to the needs of the poor.
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