Commercialization of water

Commodification of water
According to a 1999 report, the U.S. Global Water Corporation, a Canadian company, was one of those seeking to be a major player in the water trade. It signed an agreement with Sitka, Alaska, to export 18 billion gallons per year of glacier water to China where it would be bottled in one of that country's "free trade" zones to take advantage of cheap labour. The company brochure enticed investors "to harvest the accelerating opportunity... as traditional sources of water around the world become progressively depleted and degraded.".
1. Selling water to the highest bidder will only exacerbate the worst impacts of the world water crisis.

2. The future of one of the earth's most vital resources is being determined by those who profit from its overuse and abuse.

3. The push to commodify water comes at a time when the social, political and economic impacts of water scarcity are rapidly becoming a destabilizing force, with water-related conflicts springing up around the globe.

4. Poor residents in Lima, Peru, pay private vendors as much as $3 per cubic meter for buckets of often-contaminated water while the more affluent pay 30 cents per cubic meter for treated municipal tap water.

5. Governments are signing away their control over domestic water supplies by participating in trade treaties such as [North American Free Trade Agreement] (NAFTA) and institutions such as the World Trade Organization (WTO). These agreements effectively give transnational corporations the unprecedented right to the water of signatory countries. With the protection of these international trade agreements, companies are setting their sights on the mass transport of bulk water by diversion and by super-tanker. Several companies are developing technology whereby large quantities of fresh water would be loaded into huge sealed bags and towed across the ocean for sale.

6. Georg Wurmitzer, mayor of the small town of Simitz, in the Austrian Alps, states: It is a sacred duty to help someone who is suffering from thirst. However, it is a sin to transfer water just so that people can flush their toilets and wash their cars in dry areas... It makes no sense and is ecological and economic madness.

(J) Problems under consideration