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A New Age of Hydro-Imperialism: US Water Wars in the Middle East

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new-logo25by GARIKAI CHENGU

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So we find that France controls 50% of the worlds water. Ghadafi required that his great man made river belong to Libya and the Libyan people. He refused to let the rest of the world control it. Now since the illegal invasion and attack on Libya, FRANCE is now rebuilding and re designing the Great man made River, the Libyan people will suffer not only the cost of design and construction but will bear the weight of the expensive water. We look for the great Tribes of Libya to take back their country from the occupiers and give all the assets back the rightful owners – the Libyan people..

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10003129_10151904820587234_361156289_nWater is to the twenty-first century what oil was to the twentieth century: the commodity that determines the wealth and stability of nations.

People who think that the West’s interventions in Iraq, Libya and Syria are only about oil are mistaken. Broadly speaking, Western interest in the Middle East is becoming increasingly about a commodity more precious than oil, namely water.

According to the U.S.-based Center for Public Integrity, Western nations stand to make up to a US$1 trillion from privatizing, purifying and distributing water in a region where water often sells for far more than oil.

Although over two thirds of our planet is water, we face an acute shortage. This scarcity flies in the face of our natural assumptions. The problem is that 97 percent is salt water. Great for fish, not so good for humans. Of the world’s fresh water, only one percent is available for drinking, with the remaining two percent trapped in glaciers and ice. More

WORLD BANK AND MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS SEEK TO PRIVATIZE WATER

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More than one billion people lack access to fresh drinking water, according to the United Nations — and that number is expected to double in the next 10 years. World water consumption is growing more than twice as fast as the population.

For human beings this is a crisis. For corporations, though, it’s an opportunity. The world’s biggest companies increasingly see water as the world’s largest untapped commodity. They’re moving to take over local water supplies in the name of profit. When municipal water services are privatized, rates double or triple, quality standards drop, and customers who can’t pay are cut off. And governments are lining up to help. Every year public officials from all over the world convene with big-business leaders and World Bank representatives at meetings of the World Water Council, a water think tank dominated by commercial interests.

The corporations involved aren’t shy about their plans. In Vandana Shiva’s story in Canadian Dimension magazine, Monsanto’s Robert Farley described his company’s strategy this way: “Since water is as central to food production as seed is, and without water life is not possible, Monsanto is now trying to establish its control over water.”

But the privatizers don’t always have an easy time of it. In 1999, Bechtel Group took over the public water system in Cochabamba, Bolivia, with the help of the World Bank. The company immediately doubled water rates. Bolivians didn’t take this lying down. Last year, general strikes repeatedly brought the city to a standstill. The government ultimately conceded and nullified Bechtel’s contract.

Cochabamba’s water war was one of the most significant victories yet for the opponents of corporate-driven globalization. Yet most US coverage came from the Associated Press’s Peter McFarren, whose stories uncritically accepted the government’s characterization of the protesters as drug traffickers. McFarren resigned from the wire service when it came out that he was actively lobbying the Bolivian Congress in support of a commercial proposal, from which he stood to benefit financially, to ship Bolivian water to Chile. Although it wasn’t mentioned by Project Censored, the McFarren conflict of interest was first reported by the Narco News Bulletin (www.narconews.com/mcfarrenstory1.html).

http://www.insidepolitics.org/ps111/MediaCoverup.html

Water privatization backgrounder by Public Citizen.org

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Excerpted:   

“Corporations and investors are ramping up a concerted, multi-pronged effort aimed at forcing governments to privatize public services and to commodify water in the global commons. Already, much of England and France have privatized water systems. The result has been rate increases, deteriorating service, loss of local control and increased corruption. Since water services were privatized in France, customer fees have increased by as much as 150%. A number of public officials have been convicted of accepting bribes from companies bidding on public service contracts and sentenced to time in prison.

Private corporations seek to increase profit margins by cutting costs; hence lay-offs and inferior services almost always accompany privatization. In England, private companies fired nearly 25% of the work force, approximately 100,000 workers, when they acquired rights to the water system. Delays in service and accidents routinely follow the firing of often the more experienced personnel. Since 1999, Thames Water, the largest water and wastewater company in England, has been convicted of environmental and public health violations two dozen times and fined roughly $700,000 after allowing raw sewage to flow into open waterways, over streets, onto people’s lawns and over children’s toys—even into people’s homes.

The same multinational corporations aggressively taking over the management of public water services around the world are now vying for the lucrative U.S. market, one of the world’s largest with annual revenues estimated at $90 billion. A change to the U.S. tax code in 1997 opened the way to greater private sector involvement in the U.S. water delivery and treatment business. Companies are now able to bid on 20-year contracts that include the operation, design of new plants or upgrades, maintenance and even complete transfer of ownership of water systems to the private sector. Until now, mainly small public utility operators have controlled the U.S. water industry. In rural areas, small, privately owned utilities were common, but multinational corporations are rapidly buying even these out. These companies have weaseled into venues like the U.S. Conference of Mayors where they peddle privatization as a simple, cost-saving solution to cities’ aging infrastructures and regulatory compliance headaches.

On a global scale, water privatization is being pushed by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in dozens of financially-strapped countries, where global water conglomerates are dramatically raising the price of water beyond the reach of the poor and profiting from the Global South’s search for solutions to its water crises. Corporations, such as Vivendi, Suez, RWE and Bechtel, cherry pick the profitable urban water systems while letting shantytowns and rural areas fall by the wayside. The World Bank has made privatization of urban water systems a condition for receiving new loans and debt cancellation. In Ghana in 2001, the World Bank required urban water rates to be increased 95% to prepare for privatization by making the water system appear more lucrative for international bidders. Following these rate increases, a number of people were jailed for being unable to pay their water bills. Many people who live in urban slums without access to tap water pay even higher prices for water delivered by private tanker truck operators. The poor, particularly women or girls whose traditional duties include collecting water, and babies suffer considerable hardship, illness and even death when they are forced to consume unsafe water after public supplies become too expensive.”

http://www.citizen.org/cmep/Water/activist/articles.cfm?ID=9589

This is a large article but well worth reading.  Please note the comment that corporations have only one duty…..to make money.  Privatizing our water supplies is not in the interest of the public. 

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