By Rowan Blair Colver
Nestle, the multinational food manufacturing giant are famous for their policy on the privatisation of global water. Lobbying for water to not be a basic human right in 2000, although their CEO has backtracked slightly from his initial ultra-capitalist stance, the company ethic has not changed at all.
One method used by powerful organisations to get what they want is to create a matter of confusion within the argument against their plans. So let's wash away the murk and muddy deposits with fresh, clear water. Water is essential for life, no-one can deny this as a fact. To with-hold it would be a form of violence, as in in the action of with-holding it, harm is caused. It is as simple as suffocation or starvation. Imagine locking a person in an air tight box and saying they have no right to breath, or locking a person in a room and refusing to feed them. Imagine covering somebodies mouth so they couldn’t breathe or eat. Refusing water is no different.
What we must remember is that to maintain a civil supply of water with the essential networks of reservoirs, pipes, pumps and filtration systems that this is a service which requires an element of funding. If we want this service we do have some form of personal responsibility to create and then maintain it. The system that delivers water is not the water itself. It is only right that via some kind of personal handing over of money or energy that we pay for the service and delivery of the water, if we want it. But the line is drawn there.
What is not right is to stop a person from acquiring water in any way. If a human drinks from water they have gathered by themselves, then they should have that ability. If a person asks for a drink of water in a public place then they have an obligation to provide it, as much as they have an obligation to provide clean air and a safe environment. It should not be looked upon as a weakness to require water. In places where water is scarce then hopefully the citizens have a chance to vote. The leaders will have their own plans on how to maintain society and water must be a priority. If not then the leaders are simply not fit to claim responsibility for their governing systems.
So to conclude, when a multinational bully wants to make outrageous claims that something so basic as water is not a basic right, and that the brakes to providing it need to be applied, think about sitting in that box with no air. Now imagine sitting in that box with no air and a coin slot that will pump in enough for a day’s work for a healthy portion of your wage. That image is how it will be for us if these corporate and profit orientated companies get what they want.
Rowan Blair Colver
by Steven Solomon
In Water, esteemed journalist Steven Solomon describes a terrifying—and all too real—world in which access to fresh water has replaced oil as the primary cause of global conflicts that increasingly emanate from drought-ridden, overpopulated areas of the world.